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New Dog Beach And New Adoption Center

by Barry KuKes

If you haven’t heard, the Volusia County Board approved the proposal for a ½ mile section of beach located in Ormond Beach, running from Mislap Road to Rockefeller Drive. The program will begin on November 1st. I and about twenty other people were invited to speak on behalf of the program. Four people spoke in opposition to the proposal. The council voted 6 to 1 to approve the 18-month dog beach pilot program.

If this news puts a smile on your face, you should thank the Daytona Dog Beach, Inc. president, Nanette McKeel Petrella. With the help and support of her volunteer staff, Nanette worked tirelessly to get the pilot program approved. The last time dogs were allowed on the beach legally was over 35 years ago.

There are some costs associated with the pilot program, including:

  • $2,754 to install 26 dispensers
  • $6,000 annually for bags for
    the dispensers
  • $54,500 for a full-time animal control officer to enforce rules
  • $17,000 for annual operations costs
  • $25,000 for one-time equipment costs

Nanette McKeel Petrella said the county wouldn’t have to pay a dime thanks to private donors and money from their own organization.

“It’s not going to cost the county anything between our organization and a private donation coming from the Lohman family; the costs are covered,” McKeel Petrella said.

There were some naysayers against the pilot program. Some noted that two dog beaches are already located in New Smyrna and Ponce Inlet, so there is no need for a third beach. These dog beaches are very convenient for those dog owners residing in these areas and even Port Orange, but they are quite far from Ormond Beach. The travel time from Plantation Bay in Ormond to the New Smyrna Beach dog beach is over 35 miles and takes approximately 50 minutes.

Convenience is key in today’s society. There is a gas station every couple of miles because it would be ridiculous to suggest that people in Ormond travel to New Smyrna Beach to get gas when they could have their gas station down the street. The population and demographic determine the needs of Volusia County. As the population increases, so does the number of pets. Personally, I think the new dog beach will be a great success and is a much-needed asset to Volusia County.

On another positive note, the Halifax Humane Society opened its first satellite adoption center at the Volusia Mall on International Speedway Blvd. There was a soft opening that I attended on Fri., Jul. 14. Eight dogs were adopted between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. The next day, nineteen dogs were adopted; thus, the mall adoption center is already a great success.

HHS was dealing with an outbreak of upper respiratory infection cases, which is very contagious, so new animals could not be introduced to the general animal population until the infectious period had expired. Creating an off-site adoption center for new arrivals made perfect sense, and mall management was all about helping the homeless animals. The adoption center is located across from the Champs store near the JC Penney anchor store and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. There are plans to have the store space next to the adoption center converted into a cat café center.

Life at the shelter or the mall adoption center is no day at the beach for homeless animals, but adoption can change that. Give a homeless dog a forever home and a trip to the beach every couple of weeks. I think they would like that.

Barry KuKes is the former community outreach director at Halifax Humane Society. E-mail him at View more of his work at