Officials are warning visitors to Cape Hatteras National Seashore to keep dogs on a leash at all times to protect endangered birds and turtles during the breeding season.
Park superintendent Mike Murray said the seashore is a breeding ground for endangered and protected birds and sea turtles which lay
eggs on the beach. Murray said a dog running off a leash can disturb birds and cause them to leave their nests and expose eggs to predators.
Last year, rangers documented more than 700 cases of dogs running off leash at the seashore, including numerous instances near protected nesting areas.
Rangers can issue a citation that carries a $150 fine. Leashes must not be longer than 6 feet.