Updated: Sep 1, 2022
I get this question so many times, that I thought I'd put it out there. Clearly, inquiring minds want to know. WHY AREN'T DOGS ALLOWED ON THE BEACH HERE??? (And yes, for most people, it's a 3 question mark situation.)
I, like most people, thought it was because local residents got bent out of shape because a handful of inconsiderate people don't pick up after their dogs. Nope. The real reason makes WAY more sense, and I'll explain why. But first, two questions:
1. Did you know that Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key and Egmont Key have laws in place to protect the turtles and migratory birds that return to the islands to nest, including threatened and endangered species? In fact, the entirety of Anna Maria Island and Egmont Key is a bird sanctuary.
2. Did you know that turtle season is followed immediately by migratory bird season? Fun fact: Migratory and Shorebirds will not land if a natural predator (like a DOG, for instance) is randomly present...same reason why Border Collie patrols for Canada Geese control are actually effective.
Neither did I. (Actually, I knew that bit about using Border Collies for goose control, as I've actually been on a goose roundup using Border Collies to drive the geese. )
You can probably see where this is going: Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key are protected by the state. There are no dogs allowed on the beaches because the turtles and birds were here first, and have instinctually returned to these islands and beaches for generations. They're critical to our ecosystem, and destroying their habitat is unnecessary. Dogs destroy/disturb turtle nests which cost endangered hatchlings their lives. And, since shorebirds see dogs as natural predators, they will not land and/or nest where dogs are present (whether on leash, or not).
That doesn't mean that you have to leave your dog at home! There are options! If you're in a dog-friendly rental and you just found out that you can't take your dog to the beach, check your rental info for options for your dog. If they don't give you any, call and ask for dog-friendly businesses, parks, swimming locations, and exercise activities. Or, keep reading for the skinny on all things dog on AMI. We'll give you all the info you need to keep your pup busy, happy, and away from law enforcement.
If you have any questions that you don't see listed here, PLEASE CONTACT US!! If I don't know, I'll help you find out.