Collier County group pushing to make Vanderbilt Beach dog-friendly

They’re not barking out orders, but a group of dog owners is asking Collier County to let them bring their dogs to the beach.

“Humans love the beach, dogs love the beach, so it would be cool to have the ability to bring dogs to the beach,” said Ryan Schwartz, who lives in Naples.

Schwartz and his dogs, Banksy and Mae, live near Vanderbilt Beach, but they have to go to Lee County’s Bonita Beach because Collier County doesn’t have a single, dog-friendly beach.

Even though they’ve talked about it, Collier County’s leaders say a dog beach never gained any traction out of concern for sea turtles and shorebirds.

“Something that would be pretty fair and reasonable is maybe have certain parts of the beaches be dog-friendly,” said Schwartz. “I think that that’s a pretty fair compromise.”

But visitors Linda Jeske and Karin Molzahn said they purposely drove right past Bonita’s dog beach and came to Vanderbilt.

“I like the fact that the beach doesn’t have the dogs running by, I like the fact that it’s fairly clean, the sand is nice and I don’t have barking dogs here. I just feel quite comfortable without them,” said Molzahn.

They both call it a safety issue, but they’re okay with having a dog-designated area.

“I think it’s a great compromise,” said Jeske.

As for Naples, city leaders say their Community Services Advisory Board will meet Tuesday afternoon to continue its discussion of dogs on beaches.

Writer:Briana Harvath
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