'PuppyCon’ members join Tybee Island beach cleanup

'PuppyCon’ members join Tybee Island beach cleanup

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) -It was a doggone good time this Sunday on the beaches of Tybee Island.

Volunteer groups usually get together about 15 times a month to clean up Tybee’s beach. Sunday’s cleanup involved some four-legged friends.

“We really need the puppies to experience wildlife, the sand beneath their feet, and the birds around them,” said Leslie Shepard with Southeastern Guide Dogs.

These are distractions that Shepard says service dogs in training need to be able to ignore.

“They have to be absolutely focused, so any kind of distraction and practicing that on a daily basis is really important,” she said.

Fight Dirty Tybee, along with 50 dogs and their puppy trainers from the annual “PuppyCon” conference, took their grabbers and buckets in hand to clean the beach.

“It either gets buried and comes up another day, swept out to sea or worse is ingested by a marine creature here on Tybee,” said Tim Arnold with Fight Dirty Tybee.

Arnold says the most common pieces of trash that are littered are cigarette butts, straws and bottle caps.

“When they pick up trash off the beach and they see all the cigarette butts and all the straws, they really get upset by it. I think that’s when personal changes in behavior come," Arnold said. "If you’re a smoker you don’t throw your cigarette butt anymore and if you use a straw you’re careful that you know what happens to it.”

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