DOGGONE FUN: Rocky the dog having fun on the leash free dog exercise area at South Kingscliff Beach.
DOGGONE FUN: Rocky the dog having fun on the leash free dog exercise area at South Kingscliff Beach. Scott Davis

Some have ruff time following rules at off-leash beaches

TWEED Shire Council is set to review off-leash dog areas following a divided response from the community about the current rules.

The council has clear guidelines on where a dog is allowed to be taken off its leash but some people choose to ignore the signs.

During a six-month period from July to December 2016, the council issued 28 fines worth $220 each for "owning a dog not under control in a public place” and "failing to prevent a dog from escaping”.

Some Kingscliff residents raised concern online over dogs off their leashes in on-leash areas, calling on dog owners to be more respectful of other beachgoers.

But the social media post drew a vehement response from dog owners claiming their pets were doing nothing wrong.

The council's director of natural resources, Tracy Stinson, told councillors in November that 26% of dog owners surveyed were very unsatisfied or unsatisfied with the number of off-leash areas across the shire.

Terranora resident Suzanne Knox regularly takes her two dogs to the council-authorised off-leash area at South Kingscliff Beach and said dog owners should respect the rules.

"People go to a beach for a specific reason,” Ms Knox said.

"Dogs are a bit of a nuisance if you want to lie on the beach and relax. They can jump all over your towel. I think definitely dogs should be in leash-free areas.”

However, Ms Knox agreed it could be challenging for owners who wanted to enjoy a day at the beach with their pets.

"Most people have got dogs, they're a part of the family and the beach is a family outing so you want your dog to come along.”

Councillors will attend a workshop in February to outline the process for the review of 14 current off-leash areas with a revised framework for on and off-leash dog areas expected to go on public exhibition by June.



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