Page last updated at 19:26 GMT, Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Residents split in dog beach ban

Dogs playing on Bournemouth beach
Bournemouth's beaches are very popular with dog walkers

Proposals to extend a summer beach ban for dogs in a Dorset seaside town have seen residents' views split in two.

Bournemouth Borough Council is considering extending areas of beach where dogs are banned in the summer and introducing new dog control wardens.

The current sections where dogs are allowed in the summer, at Alum Chine and Southbourne, would be reduced, but there would be no ban in the winter.

A formal consultation is under way and will close on 16 January 2009.

An informal consultation carried out during October and November brought about 728 responses - 390 came from dog owners and 323 came from non-dog owners.

The council said initial research had showed that there was a "call for greater enforcement of the existing regulations" to reduce "dog offences committed on the seafront".

Under the new proposals dog control orders would allow council officers to issue on-the-spot fines.

Anyone who does not keep their pet on a lead on the promenade, allows it on the banned beach sections and fails to pick up its dog faeces could be given a fixed penalty notice.

'Dog nuisance'

Councillor Beverley Dunlop, cabinet member for economy and tourism, said: "It's unreasonable to ban dogs completely on the beach.

"But we do need to ensure that during the busy season densely populated areas are free of possible dog nuisance and that we protect our blue flag beaches.

Bournemouth beach
Bournemouth has seven miles of beaches

"This topic is always a hot one - views expressed tend to be polarised but public space needs to work for all users."

Marjorie Hutchins, from Dorset Dog Rescue, said: "I think we're being victimised.

"There's absolutely no sound reason for banning dogs on the small amount of beach they have left.

"There's plenty of room for the number of visitors and families who come down here during the summer. A lot of holidaymakers bring their dogs.

"If [the council] finally get what they intend to have, which is a total ban the whole year around... then there are going to be a lot of miserable people."



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