COCOA BEACH, Fla. — Cocoa Beach city leaders voted Thursday night to allow dogs on beaches for the foreseeable future.

It has been a controversial move since it started back in July, with the six-month trial period set to end, but city leaders voted in favor of making the current pilot program permanent.

The city attorney drafted four different ordinances for consideration. The original proposal was to extend the trial period for another six months, but ultimately, the leaders passed Commissioner Ed Martinez's proposal, which would make the existing ordinance to allow dogs on the beach permanent.

City leaders, including the mayor, want to see if allowing dogs to roam the beach during Spring Break will impact their high tourism season.

All dogs, no matter the size, have to be on a leash at all times and owners must clean up after their pets.

The dog beach is confined to 4th Street South down to 16th Street South.

Dogs are only allowed on the beach from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Commissioner Karalyn Woulas said many are not following the rules. She proposed a smaller area for dogs to roam free on the beach.

Another commissioner, Mike Miller, wanted to extend the dog beach all the way from south of the pier down to city limits. The only exception would be the area near Coconuts.

According to the Cocoa Beach Police Department, dog violations on the beach have actually gone down under the trial period.


  • July to December 2018: 179
  • January to June 2018: 439
  • July 2017 to December 2017: 197
  • January 2017 to June 2017: 320

The city commission will vote at its next meeting to reduce the stiff fine of $250 to $100 for a first offense violation of the dog beach rules.