The question we plan on looking at today is very straightforward and simple, are dogs allowed on Gulf Shores beach?
At first, you may think that the answer would be an easy one and that there’s no reason why you should be stopped from venturing onto a beach with your dog.
Well, it’s not actually as simple as that.
Instead, numerous beaches around the country have outright bans on you taking your dog there at various times of the year. Some ban dogs no matter the time or how quiet the beach tends to be at that moment.
With the potential of picking up fines, is it any surprise that we feel you should know the status quo before you go there?
But the crazy thing is that rules for one area can change within yards. It’s no surprise that people can find themselves in a situation where they end up breaking the law when they have no intention of doing so.
So, as we said, this time we are focusing on Gulf Shores beach, so what do the rules say on this occasion? Is this area dog-friendly, or do they see dogs as the enemy?
When we look at the answer from the local authorities, then they do come across as pretty emphatic when it comes to this question. For them, there’s just an outright ban, so you cannot take your dog onto various beaches in the area.
Quite simply, you cannot take your dog to any beach or public beach area. They just do not allow it. Actually, the area classed as out of bounds for you is rather extensive to the point where it just feels as if you cannot go anywhere near the beach.
In fact, they go as far as to write it in bold caps on the local government website in their FAQs page about the beach. That is a sign of how strongly they feel about all of this to make sure that nobody can claim they couldn’t spot the answer on their website.
Instead, they advise you to go ahead and take your dog to a dog park if you want them to have some fresh air. However, while this will act as an option, it is vastly different to taking them to the beach.
But it Goes Beyond That
If you look at the rules and regulations, then the municipality does come across as trying to stop people from taking their dogs to a whole host of places.
It’s actually best if you just avoid venturing anywhere near any part of the beach as that does reduce the chances of making a mistake.
But then they do allow people to go to a private section of the beach if it’s related to a property. However, that does eliminate the possibility of most people getting onto the beach, and they also do not mention any time limits where the rules may be relaxed.
In our opinion, it’s going to be easier for you to simply understand that taking your dog near the beach is never really a good idea here.
In saying that, there is one exception to the rule, and you can probably guess what that exception will be.
Service Dogs are the Exception
Quite simply the rules do not apply if you have a service dog. You are free to venture onto the beach with your dog, but even here there are some rules as to what should happen when there.
However, the one thing that is clear is you cannot be stopped due to your disability, and as long as your dog meets certain criteria, then you should have no problem. Also, the criteria is not any different to what you would need to meet elsewhere.
The dog must be harnessed and fully trained to act as either a guide dog for an individual who is blind, or as a hearing dog for an individual who is deaf. They must be wearing their harness to ensure individuals can identify the dog as a service dog even from afar.
You find that you have the same protection as you would expect anywhere else due to your disability. It means you are free to venture onto the beach whenever you like, just as long as you have your dog correctly dressed for the occasion.
Oh, and police dogs may end up on the beach, but this is clearly in a working capacity rather than anything else. But once again this will all be easy to identify, so there should be no way in which people are confused as to why a dog is on the beach.
When Dogs Can Go to the Beach
At those rare points where a dog can indeed be taken onto the beach, you do then need to ensure your dog remains on their leash at all times. No provisions exist for any dog to roam around the beach without a leash. You cannot do this.
But that’s not the only rule.
As the owner, or the individual who is in charge of the dog at the time, you must have a container of some kind that is then suitable for cleaning up after the dog. That means you must remove any feces they produce, or you will break the law.
So What Can You Do?
We mentioned earlier how the local authorities recommend you go to a dog park, and that is certainly something to consider. It does mean you can venture outside with your dog and let them run around. However, you need to make sure you follow the appropriate rules linked to that dog park.
Aside from that, you do have a number of walks nearby that’s worth taking your dog on. It’s just sad you cannot let them run into the water and have so much fun. Well, unless you can travel some distance.
Why Ban Them?
So we should look at why Gulf Shores beach takes such a stern approach to banning dogs from the beach. Well, it’s honestly because of a few issues.
Perhaps the main reason is because they do not want dogs running around their beaches when they are busy. However, with so many beaches around the country deciding on banning dogs only between certain times, they opted to take a different approach.
For the authorities here, it’s easier to just outright ban dogs throughout the year. For them, it means any individual has no opportunity to make a mistake and stroll onto the beach with their dog at the wrong time.
It’s Not Just About People
But it’s not just about the beach being busy. The authorities realize that not everyone who owns a dog is a responsible owner. Not everybody will go and clean up after their dog.
Unfortunately, dogs can make a mess, and if the person does not pick up the feces, then it does leave a problem for others to contend with. So, their approach is to eliminate that as a possibility by preventing any dogs to venture onto the beach.
Finally, there is the issue of dogs being unruly. You may have the opinion that your dog remains the best-behaved dog in the country, but that’s not always the case. Not every dog is as well behaved as your dog, so it’s just best to have that complete ban.
As you can see, they have several reasons why dogs cannot go to the beach. Add in the fact that some see it as a way of preserving the beach from additional damage, such as digging holes in dunes, and you can understand where they are coming from with this ban.
In saying that, it still doesn’t make it nice for dog owners.
What Happens If You Go to the Beach?
So lets presume you remain unaware of the laws regarding taking your dog to the beach. What would generally happen?
Well, you may find yourself let off with a warning. However, that’s not always the case. Instead, you need to remember that you will find yourself breaking local laws, and that can end up with you receiving a fine.
But then, there is an argument that they make it very clear that dogs are not allowed, so there’s no excuse for you to get caught out.
If you are a dog owner, then save yourself a whole lot of problems by avoiding going to Gulf Shores Beach.
You cannot venture there with your dog no matter the time of year. They simply have a complete blanket ban on any public beach in the area.
Instead, you need to travel some distance to ultimately find a spot where your dog can enjoy the feeling of sand on their paws. This is certainly something we still recommend that you do, so carry out some research, find a spot closest to your home, and take them there whenever you can.
We promise both you and your dog will love the experience.