Council Responds To Dog Debate
Given the interest the matter is receiving, Bass Coast Shire Council would like to provide the following statement:
Under the Domestic Animals Act 1994, Council is responsible to put in place measures to manage cats and dogs in public places.
The issue of dogs on beaches is a highly emotive one – people are passionate about their views, but there is little consensus about how to balance the different and often conflicting opinions.
Council has an obligation to consider the needs of all people in endeavouring to make beaches safe and enjoyable. The current restrictions were put in place on a trial basis which will end 30 April.
They allow for:
- five to six hours of daylight for five months of the year (December to April) for people who wish to have their leashed dogs with them on the beach.
- six to seven hours of daylight during the same period for people who do not wish dogs around when at the beach.
- seven months of the year when dogs are allowed on the beach at any time on-leash.
- four new off-leash areas introduced in Inverloch (two reserves and two beaches) and potential to roll more off-leash areas out across our various communities.
Council is keen to listen to community views of how we can achieve a balance of access to our beaches.
We believe that we could have done better engaging with the local community during the development of the trial, but Councillors are committed to improving consultation in the remainder of the trial and beyond.
Ultimately, Council wants to find arrangements that will balance the need of people who want to exercise their dogs on the beach and those who would prefer dog-free beaches.