THE town council is appealing to West Dorset to reconsider its policies regarding dogs on the beach in Lyme Regis.
Members of the Town Management & Highways Committee this week agreed they should write to the district council, requesting reconsideration of the policy that allows dogs on the town’s main beach without leads between October and the end of April.
The request follows news that a 12-year-old boy was bitten by a dog while playing on the sandy beach in December.
Councillor Owen Lovell first brought the matter to the town council just before Christmas, when he asked that policies be reviewed and that the council push for prosecution of the dog owner.
It was reported at this week’s meeting that the town council could not pursue a prosecution, as the details of the dog owner were not known and this would have to be followed up by the family of the child, and not the council itself.
However, members agreed that West Dorset’s Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) regarding dogs on the beach needed re-thinking.
The PSPO was introduced in October 2017 and a number of complaints about dogs defecating, urinating and being out of control on the main sandy beach have since been received.
Speaking in the public forum at this week’s meeting, resident Zoe Patrick said she had recently moved to the town and was “shocked” to hear that dogs were allowed on the sandy beach without leads.
She said that October had been very mild and lots of people had wanted to swim but felt they couldn’t because of the number of dogs on the beach.
“Dogs are allowed on all the other beaches in Lyme so it’s not like they don’t have anywhere to go, but for those of us who want to enjoy the beach dog free there’s nowhere for us to go and I actually think that’s very unfair,” she said.
Councillor Brian Larcombe said the number of day trippers coming to Lyme Regis, especially at weekends, meant the policy needed to be looked at again.
He said Lyme was “inundated” with dogs and he suggested they should also be banned from the main pebble beach, where it was equally if not harder to pick up dog’s mess.
The Mayor of Lyme Regis, Councillor Michaela Ellis, added: “This council did fight long and hard to get dogs banned from the main beach. We ended up with a one size fits all policy across West Dorset, they don’t realise that Lyme Regis is unique.”
Councillor Derek Hallett, who previously worked as a dog warden in the town, said he had “everything in place” before West Dorset took over the control of dogs. “That’s why we are back where we are now – a dog’s toilet,” he added.
It was agreed to write to West Dorset District Council outlining complaints and requesting that dogs be banned from the main sandy and pebble beaches.