One month ago, I wrote a letter to the editor describing an incident my family had with dogs off leash at Mitchelville Beach Park. Since then I have learned: Mitchelville is not a beach, but rather, a park. Dogs must be on a leash at all times at the park regardless of time of day or season. At the beaches, even at times when dogs are allowed off leash, the owner must have leash in hand at all times. Dogs must be on a leash until they arrive on the beach, no matter how short the distance from the car, across a parking lot, etc. Penalties for violating leash laws can run up to $1,092. According to South Carolina Code Section 47-3-50, if a municipality imposes a penalty for dogs running at large, the dog must be on a leash at all times. An informal survey found that due to increasing populations, beach communities along the Atlantic Seaboard have mandated dogs to be on leash at all times. "Under positive voice control" is no longer considered adequate restraint for any animal, including dogs. Restricted areas of the beach can be set up for dogs to run free, much like municipal dog parks.
Even the most responsible owner cannot guarantee that his or her dog responds to commands consistently 100 percent of the time. Town Council, please eliminate "positive voice control" from the current regulations before a tragic incident or accident
occurs. Proactive action is needed.
Hilton Head Island