Plans to renew the Borough’s dog control orders through a new public space protection order are set to be discussed by Cabinet (item 9, Tuesday 23 February).
This includeds a recommendation to undertake further research and discussions regarding a proposed dog-friendly beach.
The council recently carried out a consultation seeking residents’ views on dog control orders in the town, including rules about dogs on leads, clearing up mess and the exclusion of dogs from certain public areas, including beaches, sports areas and play parks.
Due to public interest, part of the consultation related to the previous dog control order exclusion of dogs on beaches during the summer months (1 May – 30 September).
Although a small majority of respondents were in favour of creating an all-year-round dog-friendly beach, some concerns were raised regarding dog fouling, and there was also no clear consensus on which specific area of the Borough’s beach could be used. In total, 11 different sections of beach were suggested as potential areas.
Overall, the controls were almost unanimously supported by respondents and Cabinet is recommended to proceed with the order in the that respect. However, it is considered that further research and investigative work is needed in relation to the potential for a dog friendly beach, and Cabinet is recommended to defer any decision on that aspect to allow that work to take place.
Cllr Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “We recognise that the majority of dog owners across our town are responsible and clear up dog mess and ensure their pets are kept under control. However, we must ensure the health and wellbeing of our residents as our top priority.
“The consultation responses were varied and whilst there was a small majority in favour of a dog-friendly beach, there were lots of concerns raised regarding dog fouling, dogs not being kept under control, and also limiting how many dogs would be on the beach at any one time. The council would also incur significant costs to maintain and enforce any area designated and we feel further consideration is needed on this particular matter.
“The town boasts seven award winning green flag parks which are suitable for dogs, alongside Two Tree Island, which has water access – something that was a main reason for the proposed dog-friendly beach, meaning that whilst further investigations take place, dog owners still have plenty of options for exercising their pets.”