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Dog etiquette on Holden Beach

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5 posts
2 reviews
Dog etiquette on Holden Beach

We are considering a summer trip to Holden Beach next year and I was curious as to how dogs are handled on the beach. We vacationed at Emerald Isle and Pine Knoll Shores two separate weeks this summer and I was impressed with how rampant the dogs were and very often off of leash. Once, a large dog came out of no where and attacked both of my young children, completely terrifying them. Neither were hurt but it was quite a scene. Another time, we were camped out in front of our oceanfront rental and folks next to us had a large lab off leash going in and out of the water everywhere. I approached them graciously to please leash their dogs, as this was the rule, and my children were very scared, and they proceeded to lash out at me and said absolutely not, many police officers told them they did not have to as long as their dog was "under their control." I grew up with dogs and love dogs (we have none now because of our young children) but this experience put a big damper on our vacation weeks.

Prior to this year, we had vacationed for several years at Kiawah Island and there were very few dogs and ALWAYS leashed. If possible, we would like to go elsewhere for cost, housing options and oceanfront availability.

15 replies to this topic
Charlotte, North...
Destination Expert
for North Carolina
Level Contributor
3,077 posts
31 reviews
1. Re: Dog etiquette on Holden Beach

I'm sorry you all have had such scary dog experiences during vacation, sadly I read more stories like yours all the time. Some people are so disrespectful, and self-centered. Thankfully at Holden Beach we do have fairly strict dog rules that the great majority of dog owners abide by,and our police enforce the laws when they find folks breaking them. At Holden, I have only rarely seen a dog on the beach when not allowed, and only once during the Winter, a dog off it's leash. Two of the leashed dogs I saw on the beach when not allowed, I respectfully asked their owners if they knew dogs weren't allowed during that time; they both claimed not to do, and immediately removed the dogs, the other dog I spotted, it's owner "flipped me the bird" when I questioned him, so I called the police, and one was there within minutes! :)

Holden Beach does not allow dogs on the beach from May 20th to September 10th, except between 5:00 pm and 9:00 am daily. Dogs must be on a leash at all times on the island. ...And dog owners are required to scoop and bag their dog's poop anywhere on the island.

Level Contributor
5 posts
2 reviews
2. Re: Dog etiquette on Holden Beach

Thanks, UNCMickey. To clarify, during the summer, when dogs are allowed on the beach in the evening and early morning, they still must be on leash, right? If this is so, I am very encouraged.

I don't remember dogs EVERYWHERE on the beach when I was growing up. We went to public mid-Atlantic beaches. Now, it seems almost like having your pet with you on vacation is a "right" not a privilege. And it seems like all the rental units everywhere are now pet friendly. Fortunately, allergies are not a problem for us, but it would be rough if it was. Again, I love animals and grew up with them. These are just observations that I have had. Perhaps if some people were more respectful, this would not be such an issue.

Charlotte, North...
Destination Expert
for North Carolina
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3,077 posts
31 reviews
3. Re: Dog etiquette on Holden Beach

Yes, they must be on a leash at all times,on the beach, and anywhere on the island (leash-law is year-round)... with the exception of a new, small fenced dog park on Scotch Bonnet Drive. We have a vacation rental home at Holden Beach, I manage the rental, and do not allow dogs, most people who inquire are thrilled about this, and each year our home fills up it's prime rental weeks very fast. However I had one inquirer this past year who, when I confirmed to her that I didn't allow dogs in the house, told me that I was horrible to keep vacationers from bringing "part of their family", and also a fool, she bet I had trouble renting out the house! I love my pets, but they are happier, healthier, and safer at home,(my Veterinarian whole-heartedly agrees, and says most people are ignorant to the risks they expose their beloved pets to, particularly on a beach vacation) We enjoy our family time on vacation without our pets. I know people who give their dogs more love and attention than they do their kids..so sad. Yes it does seem that many people these days think it's a right to bring their pets on vacation, also in restaurants, shops, etc. That's not a right, but I do have a right to a pet free house if I choose, and the renters who chose my home for their vacation, have a right to that also. We also have rights to not step in dog poop(which is a health and environmental hazard), and not be attacked, or even not knocked down by an overly-friendly dog. If some dog owners don't start being respectful of other's rights and property, dogs will become more restricted. Carolina Beach, NC recently changed their laws to restrict dogs from the beach during most Summer hours, I've read that other beaches which in the past have been proud of their looser dog laws are also considering changing laws due to so many irresponsible dog owners. I am sorry for the dog owners who follow rules, are respectful and responsible, but like so much in our society, the thoughtless, irresponsible people ruin it for all.

I'll step off my soapbox now! ;)

If I can help with any questions about Holden Beach, or the surrounding area, I'm happy to. It's a wonderful, low-key, very relaxed beach. Can't wait to get back there in 2 weeks!

Best Wishes.

Holden Beach, North...
1 post
4. Re: Dog etiquette on Holden Beach

Holden Beach has gone to the dogs. No one here gives a damn what these dogs are doing. I have dozens of photos of different dogs taking a crap, and just leaving it lay. I guess it will take a visitor getting hook-worm or such from accidentally walking thru fresh poo barefoot, and sueing Holden Beach Town, before the dog ordinance is enforced. And that doesn’t even begin to address the leash issues. Personally, any dog owner, leaving the beach, should be spot checked and required to show the evidence that they bagged and removed their loved ones poop. Or be heavily fined.

Charlotte, North...
Level Contributor
1,013 posts
39 reviews
5. Re: Dog etiquette on Holden Beach

How does a dog “attack” two kids but they don’t get injured?

Virginia Beach...
Destination Expert
for Ocracoke
Level Contributor
1,499 posts
138 reviews
6. Re: Dog etiquette on Holden Beach

An attack does not necessarily cause bodily harm.

When an animal runs up, jumps all over you or chases you, and it is unwelcomed-that is an attack.

Chapel Hill, North...
Level Contributor
9,885 posts
39 reviews
7. Re: Dog etiquette on Holden Beach

I don't think that's an "attack". It's unwanted and annoying, though, and responsible dog-owners should keep their dogs under control so that doesn't happen.

The original post here is from 2015. Khatykat, I hope things improve, I don't think your stop and frisk idea has any merit, though. Not every dog poops every time they go to the beach.

Virginia Beach...
Destination Expert
for Ocracoke
Level Contributor
1,499 posts
138 reviews
8. Re: Dog etiquette on Holden Beach

Well, yes, I guess "attack" is a bit strong. But, we deal with this all the time here in VB, particularly on the bay side. We do have laws, but not a lot of enforcement. I had a friend whose smaller dog (on a leash) was mauled to death by another dog whose owner could not control their dog. Just yesterday I was walking on the bay and three dogs run up to me barking and growling-owners saying "oh they never bite". Who knows?

I have to laugh at the "not every dog poops". We just returned from walking the VB Boardwalk and witnessed a lady allowing her small boy to urinate under a bench. Geez...

Level Contributor
1 post
6 reviews
9. Re: Dog etiquette on Holden Beach

Wow, is all I can say to that!! Different strokes for different folks.

1 post
10. Re: Dog etiquette on Holden Beach

Just stay to the north. We have a lot of real shark (attacks) here.....and its difficult to get that leash on.

Edited: 27 June 2018, 22:26
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