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Leash Law?

yellowdogyellowdog Posts: 151 Deckhand
We stay on Little Gasparilla Island and love it. We take our 18 month old lab and he loves retreiving the ball in the ocean. We got a visit from the "turtle lady" as the locals call her. She said the turtles will be coming in soon and said, "we ask that you leash your dog." One of the reasons we go to LGI is the lack of crowds and that pets are welcome. The owners we rent from(and many of the rentals) talk about this on their web sites. I found Charlotte County's leash law online and it says dogs must be leashed on public property. I asked some others on the island and got mixed opinions:
1. Yes there is a leash law but it is not really enforced. Just be nice to the turtle lady and make sure your dog avoids the nesting sites and you will be fine.
2. LGI is a private island and they cannot force you to leash your dog.
3. Our lot is private property to the high tide line and the dog can be unleashed on private property.
We don't want to get on the bad side of the turtle lady, but we also want to allow our dog to swim in the ocean. We are very careful during the turtle season to always be with him on the beach and not let him near the sites. Does anybody know, for sure, what the law is on the island? Has anybody ever been written up?


  • SCFD rtrd.SCFD rtrd. Posts: 1,390 Officer
    I'm not sure if that's Lee County or Charlotte County, but both have web-sites. Why don't you email animal control and ask for direction/clarification. If you email the wrong county department, they usually forward your question to the appropriate dept.

    I hear the "Turtle Lady" has lots of pull. So, keep her happy.
  • yellowdogyellowdog Posts: 151 Deckhand
    Did as you suggested and called the Charlotte County Animal Control office. The guy was very nice and laughed when I mentioned meeting the "Turtle Lady". He said they refer to them as the "Turtle People". There is no clear cut answer to the question. He said dogs are not allowed on public beaches without a leash. LGI and the other private islands are a grey area. He said he cannot remember ever writing a ticket on one of the private islands for a violation of the leash law. The state park that is located on the northen part of LGI is patroled by the wildlofe people and they can write a ticket for no leash there. I ran into this fellow years ago on my first trip down and walked into the state park with my dog on the beach. There are no signs telling you that you have entered the park. He stopped me and told me where I was and said I would need to leash the dog in the park. He was nice and I just went back down the island. The animal control guy said it is very unlikely that they would ever write a ticket on the island since they would have to get a boat and ride all the way over and then catch your dog off the leash and then decide whether it was worth it to write a ticket on a private island(might not stick in court). He said that he thought dogs were not allowed in the ocean anywhere since that is state property. He did say that if your dog messes with a turtle nest, that is a different story. That's a federal issue. He said years ago a dog on Palm Island was getting out and digging up the nests. They tried to stake him out and catch him. He said there can be some hefty fines associated with it. In the end, the best advice he could offer was to avoid the turtle lady(she is usually out in the early am) and keep the dog away from the nests.
  • shempshemp Posts: 613 Officer
    he thought dogs were not allowed in the ocean anywhere since that is state property
    Don't know about that...

    Beaches (not the island w/ houses and stuff, but the actual beach) as far as I know are all public and belong to the county unless another special jurisdiction superceeds (state park, etc.)

    There are some complicated issues when it comes to water, tidelines, floodlines, etc. And whats worse is rich people and lawyers make rules that are enforced, more often than not, by people w/o a background in legalise. Not knocking em, but it seems like w/ wildlife laws if you ask three people the same question you get three different answers (w/ regard to finer points)
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