VIRGINIA BEACH — Police here will be hosting a community forum April 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Law Enforcement Training Academy to get public feedback on changes to the city’s leash laws.
The feedback will be used in City Council’s consideration of a proposed change to City Code Section 6.5, which pertains to animals on the beach and in adjacent areas, according to a news release from the city.
The proposed change would require all dogs to be leashed on city-owned beaches at all times. Other restrictions in the code would remain unaffected.
According to Virginia Beach Animal Control data cited in the news release, “out-of-control, off-leash dogs warrant a review of the policy” that currently allows dogs to roam leash-free on beaches at certain times.
In 2017, there were 18 incidents involving dogs that attacked people or other dogs and caused the victim of the attack to bleed, according to the news release. In 14 of those cases, the dogs were off-leash.
In 2018, there were 15 such incidents, 11 of which involved off-leash dogs. And last year, two unleashed dogs attacked and killed a small on-leash dog on the beach near 55th Street.
Current city code allows dogs to be off-leash on the resort beach before Memorial Day weekend and after Labor Day weekend as long as the dogs remain under owners’ control.
During the summer months (Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend), pets are limited to frolicking on the beach at the north end above 42nd Street or the south end in the Sandbridge area and only at certain times — before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m., officials said.
Neither a vote nor a public hearing before City Council have been scheduled yet for the proposed change to city code.