After a rise in reports about dogs on the beach, Atlantic Beach Police are changing their tactics to catch people breaking the rules. Dogs are allowed on Atlantic Beach all day, but must be on a leash unless both the dog and its owner are in the water together.

Atlantic Beach Police Commander Tiffany Layson says they’ve seen an uptick in reports recently, as they usually do as the weather improves. “Dogs off leash, owners letting their dogs run around in the sand, owners that aren’t picking up after their dogs when they use the bathroom on the beach,” Layson says.

In response, the police department has asked animal control officers to spend more time on the beach and vary the times they patrol. Additionally, they are altering the way they patrol.

“When our animal control officer is riding in the ATV up the beach that people see it or hear it and then leash their dog right away,” Layson says. “So we’ve asked them to go out there on foot so they’re not as noticeable.”

Chase Misner, his dog Jax and their human and dog friends played on the beach Friday. Misner disagrees with the leash law. “It’s obvious some dogs are not well-behaved and don’t deserve it but some dogs are perfectly fine,” Misner says.

People caught breaking the leash regulations face a $55 fine for a first offense. The fine increases with each subsequent offense.