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Byron Shire
May 6, 2021

Irresponsible dog owners allowing the killing of wildlife

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On Friday morning, as I walked on the beach between Brunswick Heads Surf Club and the break wall, I witness a brutal murder.

A dog chased a wallaby on to the beach. The wallaby was already bleeding profusely. The dog leapt onto the wallaby and resumed its savage attack.

I yelled and it ran off up the beach, towards families with young children, its face and body covered in blood. The wallaby entered the water but couldn’t swim or recover. Soon a small group gathered. The wallaby was brought on to the sand and a WIRES volunteer arrived not long after.

No one could get on to the ranger to report the dog. As we stood watching the wallaby die, we counted ten dogs in this area without leads.

For the past several years, I, and many other locals, have been politely approaching the owners of dogs in this area, and further down the beach, to ask if they are aware of the limits of the dog area, and ask that they stay within them to protect the wildlife of this fragile coastline, and the well being of people who would prefer to have a dog-free beach experience.

I have been ignored, insulted, argued with and threatened. Many people I know will no longer approach these dog owners for fear of violent responses. The dog owners obviously feel free to break the law as they know there are no consequences. It is clear that the council does not have the resources to ensure compliance.

I realise that most dog owners are responsible and keep within the designated area. Unfortunately, however, many are not, and so the dog area at Brunswick Heads may have to be removed.

Those of us who witnessed this incident are no longer prepared to be silenced by the self righteous few who insist that their choice to exercise their pets illegally is more important than the environment or the rest of the community.

Perhaps it is time to call for a public meeting of concerned residents to seek other ways of protecting not only our wildlife but also our small children and older people who seek to enjoy the beaches without being frightened by unleashed dogs.

Kerren Heilpern, Yelgun


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  1. Take photos and videos. Do it often, do it obviously. Make sure you are only doing it when there is a clear breach of the regulations. Post them online, send them to rangers. Photograph the vehicles if they arrive or leave in vehicles. Lobby for increased fines and increased compliance.

    If the price of letting your dog off the leash out of the regulated area was increased to a realistic deterent, maybe these people would think twice. It is after all self-interest that motivates these activities.


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