11 April 2023

Complaints increase about misbehaving dogs at Eurobodalla beaches

| Albert McKnight
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Dog on a leash at the beach

The dog Maggie May was kept on a leash during her first visit to Tomakin Beach. Photo: Eurobodalla Shire Council.

An increase in complaints about misbehaving dogs at popular Eurobodalla beaches has resulted in the council warning owners to do the right thing as we head into the Easter holidays.

Since the start of January 2023, Eurobodalla Shire Council has received 38 complaints regarding concerns around dogs on beaches.

This number is made up of 10 complaints at Broulee, eight at Tuross Heads, four at Tomakin Beach and 16 at other beaches in the area.

“Complaints include dog faeces, dogs roaming off-leash on restricted dog beaches, dogs not under effective control, requests for additional signage, irresponsible dog ownership, dogs on prohibited beaches or outside of timeshare arrangements,” the council’s manager of environmental services Deborah Lenson said.

“Rangers are also noticing owners taking their dogs to timeshare beaches between 9 am and 5 pm, and this is currently not allowed. The timeshare change does not come in place until 1 May.”

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Senior ranger Mitchell Stirling said that, while the majority of dog owners do the right thing, some owners were not controlling their dogs effectively.

“A small percentage of owners are continuing to turn a blind eye to their dog’s misbehaviour, particularly at popular off-leash beaches,” he said.

He said the safety and comfort of both people and dogs depend on owners being responsible.

“Nobody wants their day to be ruined by treading on dog poo or a dog on the loose running across towels, knocking children over, or stealing fishing bait,” Mr Stirling said.

“We want off-leash areas to be a friendly balance between dogs, their owners, and other beachgoers.”

He said dog owners need to have voice control over their dog, and if a dog does not reliably come when called, then they are not ready to be off a leash.

Council has provided advice on what to remember when taking a dog to the beach:

  • Just because your dog is friendly, doesn’t mean other dogs are.
  • Never let your dog run up to another dog. Ask its owner if it’s okay to say hello.
  • Put your dog on a leash when arriving and leaving the beach.
  • Observe your dog’s behaviour and keep them in sight. Owners often confuse dominant behaviours with play behaviours.
  • Behaviours like inappropriate mounting and excessive barking are not acceptable.
  • Take a bag and pick up your dog’s poo.
  • If a beach or area is not signposted, it means dogs are required to be on a leash.

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Timeshare beaches also remain in place in the shire until 30 April.

Dogs are allowed on or off-leash before 9 am and after 5 pm and are prohibited between 9 am and 5 pm on these beaches, click here for more details.

Between 2021 and October 2022, there were 31 dog attacks on people in the Eurobodalla.

When it came to livestock, there were 25 dog attacks, as well as 18 on wildlife and 42 on other dogs.

These figures had all increased from those in 2021.

Late last year, Mr Stirling had also noted the “seriousness of attacks has increased”.

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