If you are out exercising your dog, please keep to the off-leash areas and not let your pet chase birds or disturb nests.
Byron Shire rangers will be increasing their beach patrols over the coming weeks to remind pet owners to stay within the correct areas.
Governance manager Ralph James urged pet owners to check the signs before going onto the beach.
Dogs are not permitted off the leash outside the designated dog exercise areas.
‘Even when in the off-leash areas,’ said Mr James, ‘it’s good training to not let or encourage your dogs to chase birds.
‘Estuaries, dunes and beaches provide essential nesting sites for shorebirds including threatened species such as the Pied Oystercatcher.
‘Dogs don’t know the boundaries and all birds look the same. It’s up to pet owners to be responsible and to have control of your dog at all times,’ Mr James said.
Council’s team leader of natural environment, Angus Underwood, agreed.
‘Most dogs naturally see shorebirds as a fun thing to chase when they are on the beach; however, disturbance to feeding and nesting shorebirds can lead to eggs failing to hatch, and chicks starving or being predated in the absence of their parents.
‘Small changes in dog owners’ behaviour can have a big impact on shorebird conservation,’ he said.
Areas of particular importance for shorebirds, noted Mr Underwood, are the beaches at Belongil, Brunswick Heads and Tallows.
Fines of up to $330 can apply for a roaming unleashed dog in a non-designated area.
How can you help?
- Only exercise your dog in a designated off-leash area.
- Keep dogs out of national parks and nature reserves.
- Only take dogs into the designated off-leash areas on the beach.
- Ensure you have control of your dog when it is off its leash.
- Keep dogs out of the dunes.
- Don’t let you dog chase shorebirds.
Designated off-leash dog exercise areas include:
- Tallow Beach: From a point adjacent to Jarman Street, Suffolk Park, extending in a northerly direction to the boundary of the Arakwal National Park
- Main Beach – Belongil area: From a point adjacent to Manfred Street, Belongil, extending in an easterly direction to a point on the western side of Main Beach car park and including Cavanbah Reserve
- Suffolk Park: Public Reserve, Beech Drive
- Brunswick Heads: Brunswick Heads access from a point 20m south of the Brunswick Heads Surf Club, extending in a southerly direction for 400m to the boundary of Tyagarah Nature Reserve (Restrictions: Intertidal zone only. Access from adjacent to the Brunswick Heads Surf Club only.)
- New Brighton Beach: From a point 50m north of the Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve boundary and extending northward to a line adjacent to Ocean Avenue (Restriction: Intertidal zone only)
- South Golden Beach: From a point adjacent to Gloria Street, South Golden Beach, extending in a northerly direction to the Billinudgel Nature Reserve (Restrictions: Intertidal zone only. Access via Gloria Street.)
- Mullumbimby: Heritage Park, Mill Street, Mullumbimby, from opposite Gordon Street to opposite Stuart Street (Restrictions: Companion animals are prohibited from the area in or within ten (10) metres of the children’s play equipment.)
- Bangalow: Part of the Community land at Ashton Street Bangalow; the area bounded by Deacon Street, Ashton Street and Byron Creek (Restrictions: Companion animals are prohibited from the area in or within ten (10) metres of the children’s play equipment.)
In our report on Monday on a Sydney man being fined $7,500 in Byron Court over an attack by his bull terrier on a smaller dog, it was stated that the magistrate had ordered the aggressive dog to be destroyed, which is incorrect. The magistrate had considered a destruction order, but declined to do so after Byron Shire Council’s governance manager Ralph James told the court the dog was housed in the Woollahra Council area and that the question of the dog’s destruction should be left to that council.