Virginia Beach Animal Control breaks down beach dog restrictions

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - It's the kick-off to the summer season. Memorial Day weekend is sure to bring thousands to our area beaches, many with their dog in tow.

But the holiday weekend also signals a time that Fido must be kept inside at many locations.

"We do it for the safety of you and the dogs, and there are also people out there that go to the beach not to be around dogs, they go to the beach to enjoy the water and the sand," said Meghan Conti with Virginia Beach Animal Control.

Nicholas Rodriguez and his wife came to Virginia Beach Oceanfront Friday from Maryland, bringing their four-year-old pup Emma with them.

"We play catch with her or Frisbee, and take her out to be near family," Rodriguez said.

But little Emma has to wait until 6 p.m. on Friday at the Oceanfront to frolic in the sand -- news that surprised her owner.

Dog restrictions in Virginia Beach and at Chesapeake Bay beaches in Norfolk start this weekend through Labor Day, and they can be a bit confusing, so News 3 went to Animal Control to break it all down.

Related: Virginia Beach looking to change dog leash law

"Rudee Inlet to 42nd Street, those beaches are completely closed to all animals all times of the day,"  Conti said.

But other beaches are OK -- only before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. There's even a rule about the bustling boardwalk.

"The boardwalk and across Atlantic Avenue are closed to all animals all times of the day, except for dogs on leashes. Those are allowed in the boardwalk area from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.," Conti said.

Virginia Beach Animal Control says the measures are for safety. In 2017, Animal Control reported there were 14 off-leash dog attacks, and in 2018 there were 11.

Conti says you can face fines of up to $250 if you do not abide by the leash laws and beach restrictions.

The city does have three dog parks open during the day, but they require a pass.

In Norfolk, it's very much the same as Virginia Beach. The rules there start Saturday: before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m., your pup can come out on a leash.

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