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A shore thing: Wildwood may get dog beach, and just in time for Memorial Day

wildwood

Don’t know what took them so long, but Wildwood, N.J., officials appear headed to allowing some unrestricted beach access to dogs — unleashed and year-round.

Like many New Jersey beach towns, Wildwood has long had numerous rules when it comes to dogs on the beach, limiting them to winter months, off hours and requiring they be on leashes.

But two weeks ago the Wildwood City Commission — in an effort to boost tourism — voted unanimously to amend the city’s ordinance banningunleashed dogs from the beach and from cross over pathways on the boardwalk in the summer.

If the amendment is approved in a final vote scheduled for Wednesday, dogs would have year-round access — starting this Memorial Day — to a block and a half long, 190-yard-wide piece of beach in the city’s north end, probably around Poplar Avenue, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

It would be South Jersey’s first official year-round dog beach.

The designated dog beach in Wildwood would have water stations, poop bag stations and signs reminding owners to clean up after their pets.

“I’m going to bet that at the end of the summer, the public works crews will report that they had far less issues with doggie messes than they had with finding dirty disposable diapers left all over the beach,” said Peter Byron, a city commissioner, father of seven children and dog owner.

Some local motels — generally the already dog-friendly ones — are looking forward to the change.

“I think it’s going to be a good thing that the city is opening a dog beach,” said Bob Ferguson, who estimates 70 percent of the guests at his motel, the Rus Mar on Ocean Avenue, show up with dogs.

“It just says Wildwood is dog-friendly, which is a good thing for business.”

“Wildwood is not a fly-to, it’s a drive-to place. And people really want to be able to travel with the pets these days,” Commissioner Byron noted. “We think this will be a huge boost for tourism because visitors will have the chance to do that if they come to Wildwood.”

(Photo: By Tom Gralish / Philadelphia Inquirer)

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