Several people have written to the Sentinel-Times in the last two weeks in support of the dog bans on beaches.
One lady even suggested that it should be extended from November to May.
The reasons given have included the possibility of people being entangled in leads while swimming in the water, dog faeces and urine in the sea causing a health issue for swimmers, dog poo hidden in the sand and on people’s front lawns and in the streets!
Dogs running on beaches and adults and children alike being so frightened that their beach visit has been spoilt. I wonder what country we are living in!
Sadly, there has been a letter relating the attack on a cat by a dog and clearly, that would not be the first occasion; however this did not happen on the beach.
The term “dog lobby” has been used by our Inverloch council representative in a derogatory manner and the dog bans referred to as an inconsequential issue when compared to others arising in the shire.
For those people who own dogs in Inverloch and along Bass Coast, this issue has been life changing.
It has changed their daily routine, their very ability to socialise, mix with others on the beach or even access the beach.
It is not a small matter.
The ‘Dog Lobby’- encompasses the thousands of rate payers and visitors alike who want to care for every member of their family – even their dogs, and includes those of us who unknowingly voted onto council, people who, in effect, do not represent us.
It encompasses hundreds of people who, as in centuries before us, have loved and cared for dogs and included them in their daily activities.
While on a recent visit to a seaside town in England I noted dog poo bins on every second corner, bag dispensers at the beaches, and dogs in pubs.
People welcomed dogs and owners talked to one another routinely, and there appeared to be a general acceptance that dogs are a valued part of society.
As houses get bigger, yards smaller and people busier, the need for a dog diminishes as does the quality of life of existing domestic animals.
No doubt one day, dogs will be seen by many as inconsequential in our modern society. I trust I will not live to see that day. Until that day arrives, Bass Coast offers ovals which are used for ball games, and beaches, also used for ball games and other toys.
Some people would like to use the beach for enjoyment with their animals.
Rather than polarise the residents of Bass Coast, whose sense of ‘community’ is now questionable, I would like to see council approving poo bag dispensers at beach entrances, bins in the streets, and encouraging an improved sense of responsibility among dog owners to exercise, stimulate and clean up after their dogs.
I would also like to see a sense of awareness on the part of the ‘Ban Dogs lobby’, of the enormous contribution dogs make to the quality of life of so many of us.
When cared for in a family, dogs can reduce fear experienced by children and also serve to protect them.
One only has to read any newspaper to see that dogs are not the source of danger in Bass Coast.
Karen Chugg, Inverloch