A PETITION has been launched to stop dogs being banned from Lyme Regis’ main beaches.
While no decision have been made yet, Lyme Regis Town Council has expressed desire to see dogs banned from the town’s sandy beach and Cobb Gate shingle beach all year round.
Following the introduction of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) by the now defunct West Dorset District Council in October 2017, dogs are currently allowed on Lyme’s main sandy beach without a lead between October 1 and May 1.
Lyme Regis Town Council objected to the PSPO when it was first introduced, with members arguing that dogs should be kept on leads, and a number of complaints from the public about dogs defecating, urinating and being out of control on the sandy beach have also been received.
Following an incident in which a 12-year-old boy was bitten by a dog on the beach in December 2018, further calls for reconsideration of the policy were made.
Councillors have now said on more than one occasion that they would like to see dogs completely banned from both the sandy beach and Cobb Gate shingle beach all year round.
The suggestion of a complete ban has proved controversial with some dog owners, who have said it is unfair to penalise well-behaved dogs and owners who clean up after their pets.
A petition has now been launched by local resident and dog owner Debbie Conibere, requesting that the beaches remain accessible to dogs during the off peak seasons in winter and spring (October 1 to April 31).
The petition can be signed online at https://www.change.org/p/lyme-regis-town-council-don-t-ban-dogs-from-lyme-regis-s-beaches or in the Pug & Puffin shop in Broad Street.
Debbie commented: “To ban all dogs, and in consequence their loving dog owners, is discrimination against the majority of loving dog owners who do clean up after their dogs, who keep their dogs regularly treated for worms, fleas and ticks, ensure their dog is fit and healthy and well trained.
“Many of Lyme Regis businesses rely on tourism, and loving dog owners who come to visit the town in the winter and spring months with their dogs due to the current accessibility to the sandy beach and Cobb Gate shingle beach do so because Lyme Regis is so dog friendly, with many shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants allowing well behaved dogs in their establishments.
“Take away the ability for visitors with dogs to use the sandy beach and Cobb Gate shingle beach during the winter and spring seasons and the town risks removing Lyme Regis as one of the top destination for visitors with dogs.
“Many of Lyme Regis’ loving dog owners, residents and visitors, are retired and have limited mobility or are registered disabled which makes access to the further away beaches of Monmouth and Church Beach with their dog either impossible or extremely hard and the risk of tripping or falling on steps or uneven stones is a real hazard.
“Banning of dogs on sandy beach and Cobb Gate shingle beach due to the actions of a minority of dog owners, is discrimination against loving dog owners who do care for the environment and their dogs. An increase in policing and upholding of policies by the dog wardens would benefit the whole community by not allowing a minority of dog owners to break the current regulations and ensure Lyme Regis is free of fouling.”
The current PSPO, now enforced by the new Dorset Council, was due to expire and be reconsidered in October 2020, but Dorset Council has now said it plans to extend it for an additional six weeks until December 31 2020 for internal logistical reasons.
Dorset Council is expected to hold a formal public consultation nearer this time before making a decision on whether to change the current PSPO.