Pets are not allowed in the following areas (service animals exempt):
- On all park beaches and water less than five feet in Florida, this regulation is consistent with Florida State Law.
Please do not leave pets in cars.
In areas where pets are permitted:
- Pets must remain on a leash, no longer than six feet, at all times.
Pets are prohibited by Escambia and Santa Rosa County ordinances on most of the beaches within the Florida areas. Pets are prohibited by Harrison County ordinances in Mississippi. Pets conflict with the orderly visitor use in swim beaches, picnic shelters, pavilions, and inside public buildings and facilities and other locations receiving highly concentrated public use. The interior of these fortifications are closed to pets so as not to interfere with guided tours of the forts or to intrude on the historical character the seashore attempts to maintain. Less restrictive measures would not comply with state law or provide the type of venue the seashore attempts to maintain, for the enjoyment and education of visitors.
The shoreline areas of the barrier islands of Mississippi (Ship, Horn, Petit Bois, West Petit Bois, and Cat Islands), represents some of the only remaining natural habitat along the Mississippi coastline for a wide variety of shorebirds to nest, feed, and rest. The shoreline and adjacent dune areas on these islands are crucial to the nesting success of shorebirds, many of which are threatened, endangered, or otherwise considered species of special management concern. Dogs in these areas can cause entire colonies of birds to flush and abandon their nests leaving eggs or chicks vulnerable to take due to exposure from the elements (e.g. heat) and predators. Loss of any shorebirds, including adults, chicks, or eggs due to dogs encroaching upon nesting areas can have a direct and adverse effect to the nesting success and recovery of these wildlife species.
For more information, please visit our Law & Policies page.
From ADA.gov: Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.
Last updated: August 19, 2020