I have fallen in love with the coastline between San Remo and Inverloch, and despite living in Melbourne, I am visiting the beaches at every opportunity, to take in the beauty of the area with long walks.
This is usually once or twice per week.
The one constant I am finding, is that whichever beaches I am walking, there are always people letting their dogs run free.
This despite the fact that at every access point I have seen, there are signs saying dogs must always be on leash.
Very often too, there are signs saying that the Hooded Plovers breed on these beaches.
I can’t believe people in these places have such disregard for these rules.
Why should I have to put up with dogs accosting me?
Much more importantly though, is why do the dog owners not care about the danger their dogs pose to the Plovers, and the other beach nesting birds in the area?
People have a choice to where they can walk their dogs – those birds do not have that luxury.
Surely there are parks where the dogs can run free without causing the problems I am noticing on the beach as regards to the Plover.
Why not let them have a chance, and keep you dogs on leash at least?
I have read that these birds are under extreme stress, and the main cause is dogs off leash, which is no surprise to me as I see it every time I am down Bass Coast way.
Why not appreciate how lucky you are to have these birds enhancing the area, instead of helping to make them extinct on your great coast?
I was at Point Norman, Inverloch on Monday (November 17), and there is at the moment signs saying that there are hooded plover chicks there.
Yet, it was the same old story, dogs running free, despite there being some areas roped off to help protect the nesting birds.
Of course those roped off areas pose no problems for dogs running free, and I imagine it must be so stressful for the birds.
I happened to be watching a plover chick from a distance with its parents trying to keep it safe from those dogs, that probably should not be there in the first place, or at least on leash.
Dog owners need to show some common sense and realise that their dogs, as precious as they may be to their owners, are the main problem facing those beach nesting birds.
These owners must show respect and love for their dogs, so why not try to do the same for those beach nesting birds, by keeping their dogs under control on the beach?
The birds are part of what makes your area so special and maybe you won’t realise what you have, until they have gone.
The Hooded Plovers are now listed as vulnerable and that alone should be enough for people to care enough that they want to help preserve them.
I would certainly have trouble coming to terms with myself, if I knew I was part of the problem that caused the demise of those birds on the Bass Coast.
Steve Blume, Langwarrin.