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Thursday, Mar 26, 2015

New Bark Island per-dog fees go into effect Jan. 26

Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 08:05 PM

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The higher entry fees at Bark Island will go into effect Jan. 26.

The county announced this week that it will start charging $7 per vehicle if there is one dog inside. There will be an additional $3 fee for each additional dog.

County commissioners recently approved the new rates, which they believe will create a more equitable situation.

Formerly, owners were bringing several dogs to the beach and paying the same rate as those with only one pet.

The extra money will go into parks department coffers.

Bark Island is a seasonal recreation program offered at Pine Island Park starting the first weekend after Labor Day and ending in mid-March, prior to spring break. Dog lovers can bring their pooches from 7:30 to 9: 30 a.m.

It is held every other Saturday.

Joanne Schoch, executive director of the Humane Society of the Nature Coast Inc., said she supports the fee increase and doesn't think it is exorbitant. With a tight economy, everyone must pay his or her fair share, she said.

Bark Island provides a healthy activity for dogs, especially older ones that like to romp in the water, she said.

It also induces pet owners to get out of their homes and share the outdoors with their canine friends, she said.

The socialization that comes from interacting with others is invaluable, Schoch added.

"I think Bark Island is a wonderful idea," she said. (352) 544-5290

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