Panama City Officials Consider Dog Ban

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Friday Fest is one of the largest and most popular events in the area, but some residents say they're concerned about their safety.

"I was nearly bitten by a doberman and 6 children were nearly bitten," said Charlene Brown.

While safety and sanitation were part of her concerns, Brown also told commissioners that the dogs could be running off customers.

"The six children that were nearly bitten were from 5 families that live on the beach and those 5 families said that they spend anywhere from $30 to $50 every Friday Fest and they're not coming back as long as we have the dogs," she told commissioners, "and that frightened me."

That's catching the attention of commissioners.

"If we make the determination that it is a problem and that there is - we certainly don't want to have someone coming in here suing us because we weren't keeping them safe," said Panama City Mayor Greg Brudnicki.

"I don't think it would hurt the crowd at Friday Fest, I really don't," said Panama City Commissioner Billy Rader on a possible ban. "We only got 30 dogs, 35 dogs on an average basis. I mean, when you got 10,000 people that's a relatively small number."

Commissioners asked Downtown Improvement Board Director Dutch Sanger to present the concerns to his board which hold the event. If the ban passes, Sanger says it probably won't be enforced until after the last Friday Fest this fall.

Sanger also noted he's unsure how the ban would be enforced, but it would apply to all dogs, except service dogs.

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