VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — As the weather gets nicer, the boardwalk gets busier. For locals, it’s one of the perks of living near the beach. But once tourist season starts, you have to leave your dogs at home.
The regulations could change if an ordinance proposed by two City Council members is approved at next Tuesday’s City Council meeting. The ordinance would allow dogs to be walked on the boardwalk and grass during certain hours of the morning.
As it stands, pets are banned from the Oceanfront from Memorial Day until Labor Day.
“I think if we had the option of bringing our pets down in the morning, more locals would take advantage of it,” said Teri Ingram, who was walking her dog on the boardwalk Friday.
Ingram’s outlook was shared by all dog owners who talked to WAVY.com.
“This would be an advantage for us to be able to bring them back down here, and we would do that. Maybe spend a little bit of money at lunch or something like that, and breakfast,” said Dan Paradiso, who admitted he’s gone to other beaches in the summer that allow dogs.
Paradiso’s idea of spending more time at the Oceanfront is motivating Councilman John Uhrin and Councilwoman Rosemary Wilson, who proposed to change the regulations. Uhrin says a long term goal for the Oceanfront is to have more people live in the resort area year-round.
“When you have year-round residents, you have dog owners,” said Uhrin. “And to give them the opportunity to have their dogs on the boardwalk seems to be a natural fit.”
If approved, the new rule would allow you to walk your dog on the boardwalk and on the grassy areas during the summer season, Memorial Day through Labor Day. There are still restrictions: dog owners would only be able to walk their dog between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m.
“In the morning hours, it’s not nearly as crowded,” said Uhrin. “And I think the general consensus is it’s a good fit.”
Dog owners must still keep their dogs on a leash and clean up after them. Dogs would still be banned from the actual beach.
“I think it’s great,” said Andrea Miller. “I’d come down here in the mornings and walk the dog.”
The small change already seems to be a big deal to animal lovers. As Uhrin sees it, a way to drive more locals to the resort area.
“I’m sure it would bring many more people maybe out to the beach with their dogs,” said Paradiso. “Because dogs are family and people don’t like to leave their dogs.”