It is a pity that Ed Thexton of Inverloch spoiled an otherwise informative letter about bird life on Inverloch beaches (‘Birds and dogs’, Letters, Sentinel-Times 12/01/16, p14) by misinforming people about the dangers of walking dogs in the area.
The fact is, according to a Parks Victoria review of the relevant literature on hooded plovers, an on-leash dog is statistically no more a threat to these birds than people without dogs, and considerably less threat than a jogger.
Mr Thexton rightly points out many real threats to the birds such as foxes, rats, and ravens, but fails to acknowledge the role many of our visitors play by leaving rubbish on the beach that attracts such predators.
Nor does he acknowledge the excellent job many dog owners do in picking up such litter on their daily walks, not to mention the fact the same people remove numerous shards of glass that are a threat to all who enter the sea.
Those who have has such poor control over their dogs such that they cannot stop them “bounding and leaping” at inappropriate times and places should probably avoid walking their dog in any public place, let alone sensitive nesting areas.
On the other hand those who have trained their dogs, and ensure they are on-lead near nesting areas, should continue to enjoy what is a healthy activity for both dog and owner in the certain knowledge that they pose no more risk to wildlife than people without pets.
Keith Finney, Inverloch