The letter from Rob Webster, ‘Dogs at Screw Creek’, Sentinel-Times, March 24, was thought provoking and well written.
I wholeheartedly agree with his statement that debate should be based on factual and honest contributions and am therefore disappointed that he may, perhaps inadvertently, have misled readers who may not be fully aware of the facts.
Mr Webster is correct in saying that the majority of people who attended the last consultation meeting in Inverloch said they “could live with” dogs being prohibited from Screw Creek Reserve.
He also makes a good case for further restrictions in the reserve.
The implication that the current ban applies to the Screw Creek area is, however, highly misleading.
The ban on dogs applies to most of the beach adjacent to the Inlet caravan park, only a small area of which abuts Screw Creek and none of which is part of Screw Creek Reserve.
The introduction of a permanent ban on this beach was never mentioned during the consultation process, nor proposed by the council or its advisers.
How five councillors became aware of a need for a ban that had not been evident only days earlier, and why banning dogs had become so urgent that it justified ignoring its own consultation process, remains a complete mystery.
With respect to the statement that the scent of dogs can disturb wildlife, there are many such, unproven, claims relating to inland parks. To the best of my knowledge there are no such claims from any respected source relating to birds on a beach, much less any evidence.
This is unremarkable given that most birds have a very poor sense of smell.
If dog owners appear somewhat defensive, this is hardly surprising. Some councillors have made a habit of passing last minute motions to impose bans that have never been subject to public scrutiny.
No one knows when the next attack on the rights of dog owners will come.
Keith Finney, Inverloch.