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Visitors say impacts from red tide are turning them away from newly reopened beaches

Posted at 3:42 PM, Mar 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-02 20:09:02-05

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. — Not even a dog could outrun the smell of red tide at the Dog Beach in Bonita Springs on Thursday.

Lee County Parks & Recreation announced that the Dog Beach and Boca Grande Beach accesses had reopened to the public.

These locations are open seven days a week, from dawn to dusk.

Matt and Charlie were visiting from out of town when Fox 4 caught up with them as they were entering the dog beach.

"Soon as I opened that window, I put it back up and said, 'We aren't going to the beach today,'” said Charlie.

On Thursday, the entrance to the dog beach was covered in dead fish and a smell that Matt described as rotten dead fish soup.

The Northeast Animal Hospital located in St. Petersburg gave this advice regarding red tide and pets:

  • Bring outdoor pets inside during a bloom to prevent respiratory irritation if you live near the beach.
  • Don’t allow dogs near dead fish.
  • Avoid contact with sea foam, in which red tide can be present.
  • Wash your dog as soon as possible if they go swimming, as most will lick their coat after swimming, consuming any toxins on their fur.
  • If you live near the water, don’t let your dog outside unsupervised.
  • Consuming red tide-affected sea life or water can cause severe illness. Seek medical treatment immediately and let your vet know of the exposure.

Over on Fort Myers Beach, the impact of red tide was almost nonexistent, according to other families on the beach.

“We went to Bunch Beach two days ago and it was loaded with dead fish,” said one man on the beach.

Others told Fox 4 that earlier in the week, Fort Myers Beach had a lot of dead fish along the shoreline.

"At the beginning of the week it was pretty bad, it was loaded here with fish. Today is not too bad,” said one person walking the beach.

It's a concern well known and even being looked at by scientists from Florida Gulf Coast University.

On Wednesday, researchers were seven miles off the shoreline where they were installing artificial reefs to study Red Tides' impact.

Read more about that story by clicking here.