FREE-PLAY: Dog owners are lobbying Shoalhaven City Council for an off-leash exercise area on Narrawallee Beach where they are currently restricted to an on-leash only section in the middle of the beach.Dog owners are ramping up their campaign to have more off-leash areas on local beaches.
Following an on-going debate in the Times letters page over dogs on beaches, more than 30 animal lovers have put their heads together to form an action group aimed at gaining better access to Narrawallee Beach.
Since holding their first meeting last month, the Narrawallee Beach Dog action group has attracted more than 250 responses on its Facebook page, supporting the call for more off-leash beach areas.
Dog owner Gayle Sweaney said the campaign was focussed on “responsible sharing of Narrawallee Beach between beach goers and dog owners”.
She said the group was “encouraging a better understanding across the community of dogsand their place in modern society” and “building support for a sensible approach to off-leash access to Narrawallee Beach”.
Following the meeting, spokesperson Stephen Dolan said off- leash areas were “important for both the dog and the dog owner”.
“They provide an environment in which dogs could be adequately exercised and one in which their dog’s physical and mental health benefits from the opportunity to socialise correctly with other dogs and humans,” he said.
He said owners share the benefits exercising with their dog, taking of responsibility for their dog’s behaviour with other dogs and also interact with other people on the beach.
Mrs Sweaney said studies were exploring the benefits of the human-animal bond, include its impact on issues such as high blood pressure, depression, stress reduction and loneliness.
She said a group of dog lovers, with well behaved animals, were hoping for “greater tolerance and understanding between non-dog and dog owners”.
The group is campaigning Shoalhaven City Council for an off-leash area at Narrawallee and for better access to the middle section of the beach where dogs are currently permitted on leash only.
Many residents, including Leigh Maloney who lives on Bannister Head Road, have difficulty accessing the restricted area on foot and are forced to drive to the stairs in Victor Avenue before taking their dog for a walk on the beach.
“I can’t walk from my house unless I carry my Border Collie along the southern stretch of beach, where dogs are banned, or run the gauntlet,” Mr Maloney said.
She said nearby resident had stopped walking his dog because he could longer drive to the beach and, as a result, his health has deteriorated.
Members said the only off-leash beach areas were at Collers Beach and the northern side of Ulladulla Harbour.
Anyone interested in joining the lobby group should email: [email protected]南京夜网 or search Narrawalleebeachdogs on Facebook
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