Dog attack 'hot spots' emerging as owners ignore the rules
SOME beaches are becoming unofficial off-leash areas and authorities are warning there's a blitz on the way to stamp it out.
Murray's Beach, north of Sawtell, is one such spot and it has been the scene of a number of attacks in recent weeks.
In one incident a little 13-year-old silky cross foxie cross was ripped apart by a German Shepherd leaving the Walker family traumatised. The remorseful owners of the shepherd surrendered the dog and offered to pay any vet bills.
Read the full story: Savage dog attack leaves family devastated
Coffs Harbour City Council's section leader of compliance Robert Percival admits there are a few beaches where the rules are not being followed.
"There are a number beaches in particular that are of significant concern because there is a general feeling amongst the public that they're allowed to take dogs on a beach without a lead.
"At Murrays Beach in particular it does seem to be considered by people in the community that they are able to let dogs off the lead.
"The key message is that all dogs in public places need to be on a lead - no exceptions - unless there are particular exemptions in place," Mr Percival said.
There are only a few beaches and reserves in the Coffs Harbour Local Government Area where dogs are allowed off leads and they are:
- Boambee Beach
- Thompsons Road Reserve
- North Wall Beach Coffs Harbour
- Emerald Beach (north of Fiddamans Creek)
- Woolgoolga Back Beach
- Corindi/Pipeclay Beach (south of Ocean Street)
- Hearnes Lake Beach*
- Darkum Beach*
*These beaches are subject to seasonal restrictions during Little Tern breeding season. When the breeding area is signposted dogs must remain on a leash at all times.
While recent dog attacks, both on other animals and humans, have made headlines in recent weeks Mr Percival would not describe them as a 'spate'.
"There have been a number of incidences in the last few weeks where animals have had to be put down or people have required medical attention.
"This has certainly raised interest but in in terms of dog attacks in the overall run of things, we generally get one or two a week, but these recent incidences have just led to more severe injuries to other animals or people."
Kyra Ensbey from Bright Bessy Dog Training says it's not just beaches where the attacks are occurring.
"It's also in suburban areas, for example with dogs jumping fences to enter yards, or to attack passers by.
"The 'hot spot' beaches seem to be Murrays Beach at Sawtell, North Wall Beach and adjoining park at the jetty and Park Beach and dogs allowed to roam the streets."
Ms Ensby and Mr Percival urge all dog owners to follow the rules.
"Your little fluffy dog might be the most beautiful pet in world but when it's off the lead you never know what other dogs might be around and fluffy might end up on the wrong end of an exchange," Mr Percival said.
Ms Ensby is working on the Let's End Attacks by Dogs (LEAD) initiative.
The Advocate will bring you details of the program in coming days.