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Byron Shire
January 21, 2022

Responsible dog owner

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I read with interest Alison Drover’s article on dog management and the follow up letters last week, and I couldn’t agree more.

I am indifferent to dogs in the same way that I am indifferent to snakes. As long as they leave me totally alone, don’t invade my personal space, then I have no issue.

However, in the same way that I would not want a human to charge, jump or claw me, smell, lick or nuzzle me, defecate where I will tread on it, or hump my leg in a cafe – I hold the same expectation of dogs.

The trouble is, a moderate number of dog owners believe that their animal is ‘harmless’, ‘just a pup’ but particularly and unequivocally – universally loved.

Not so.

The main reason that owners want the dog off a lead in any area is so that the animal can defecate wherever the owner can’t see it or can activate a blind eye when required to clean it up.

Exercising the dog by free-ranging in public/ mixed use areas is only a minor part of the owner’s rationale that applies. More so, it is the owner who prefers to walk the beach rather than the dog.

I have persistently complained to Ballina Council about Sharpes Beach dog transgressions over the last two years.

To their credit they have recently stepped up their methodology in a number of ways and the benefits are there for all to see.

BSC has managed to achieve a critical mass of responsible owners on this beach. Transgressions have reduced remarkably and dog owners are very pleased that their leashed animals are no longer assaulted by the unleashed.

A concerted effort by all councils is always required with this growing problem as the OLG provides each council with many tens of thousands of dollars to enforce the Companion Animals Act.

Stephen McIllhatton, Skennars Head

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