LOCALS failed to turn out at Waterline off leash area information sessions over the weekend, with voting on the issue closing yesterday.
Three sessions were held on Saturday, in Grantville, Corinella and Coronet Bay with council officers on hand to answer questions about the process, survey results and proposed off-leash areas.
Local Laws Coordinator Jill Broomhall said it was not surprising that ratepayers had not attended the sessions as all the information regarding the proposals was readily available online.
“It just means that locals have utilised the other methods that were available to get the information,” she said.
Dogs on beach rules ‘complicated’
THE Bass Coast Shire’s law enforcement officer, Norm Fraser, admitted in Wonthaggi Court last week that the rules governing dogs on the beach at Inverloch were “complicated”.
It’s a view with which many in the community agree.
Mr Fraser was in court to prosecute the owner of two malamute dogs who were detected on the beach at Inverloch over the summer holidays this year, unregistered, in the wrong area, at the wrong time, and with one of them off lead.
The Magistrate Peter Dunn said he was aware there had been some controversy over dogs on the beach at Inverloch and asked for an explanation.
“Mr Searle had his dogs on the beach 40 minutes after they were allowed to be there,” Mr Fraser said.
Magistrate Dunn asked if the times and arrangements were different at different times of the year.
“What are the rules now?” Mr Dunn asked.
“I can’t tell you, it’s very complicated,” Mr Fraser replied, offering a general explanation about there being certain areas and certain times where dogs could be on the beach.
The owner of the dogs apologised for not having the dogs registered but he also complained about the heavy-handed approach of the shire officials, both on the beach and when they were serving the summons.
“It was the way I was spoken to, ‘Hey you, you’ve got three days to get your dogs registered’ they said.”
Mr Searle said several police cars arrived at his house, with the shire, when the summons was issued, also claiming they also “kicked in my gate”.
He said it was the first he knew that there was a problem.
Mr Fraser denied the gate had been kicked in.
Mr Searle said he had rescued the dogs from a shelter and wasn’t in a good frame of mind after losing his job following injury.
Mr Searle’s dogs were impounded until he applied for a re-hearing of the case.
The magistrate put the dogs’ owner on a 12-month good behaviour bond and ordered him to pay the shire’s costs of $113.90.
More dog trouble
It wasn’t the only ‘dogs at large’ issue before the courts last Friday.
A Phillip Island woman suffering from a mental illness at the time her dog was found wandering by council officers was also placed on a good behaviour bond at a rehearing and ordered to pay the shire’s costs of $110.40.
The woman, who was at risk of being homeless at the time, was in temporary accommodation when the dog escaped and it has since been stolen.
Magistrate Dunn was sympathetic to the dog owner’s plight, saying that dogs can often be of significant assistance to people with an illness.
There was also a case in which a Surf Beach man’s Australian Bulldog attacked a Corgi, being walked by its owner.
In the melee of dogs and owners in July this year, the Corgi was mauled requiring 10 stitches and the bulldog seized after police and shire officers were called.
The owner of that dog, Chris Savona, had already paid a $471 veterinary bill and was hit with an additional $287 in costs, plus a good behaviour bond.
Control your dogs
A SENIOR Wonthaggi resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, has made a plea to dog owners to be responsible for their pets at all times.
The woman said she has felt vulnerable when dogs off the leash have bounded towards her.
“While it appears that the majority of dog owners are compliant with the council by-law that, right across the shire dogs must be on a leash when in public, there are some selfish and arrogant owners who ignore this requirement.
“I frequently observe this occurring, especially around and on golf club land, the football oval in Korumburra road, my own street and even the shopping area.
“I need to use a walking frame. Recently, when alighting from my husband’s vehicle in a disabled parking area to attend a doctor’s appointment, two dogs off leash came towards me as I attempted to grab my frame.
“When I complained to the young male owner, I was verbally abused.
“He then continued to walk east up the south side of Murray Street, past the shops with both dogs running ahead of him.
“It is not only disabled persons like myself who are affected adversely, but other elderly citizens and children.
“Also responsible owners walking dogs on leash – their dogs can become a target for unleashed dogs.”