Bass Coast Shire Council is reviewing policies regarding Dogs on Beaches on Phillip Island. I personally believe this discussion seems to inevitably result in an unfortunate collision of perceived rights and entitlements of people, pets and wildlife.
Strong sentiment is expressed and unfortunately this can, and does, result is some disrespectful comments especially on social media.
Many dog owners have a perception that Phillip Island’s beaches are a free-for-all as far as off leash dogs are concerned and what may have occurred in the past still meets the community’s expectations today. We believe we need to work hard to reverse these perceptions.
PICS has a guiding principle to “Save Wildlife Today for Tomorrow”. After 50 years we still believe that, therefore saving the threatened Hooded Plovers is vitally important to PICS.
Hooded Plovers breed on many of our beaches and are very mobile over long stretches of beach. Hooded Plover chicks were being killed by foxes and dogs and unfortunately today are still being killed by off-leash dogs. Wallabies are sometimes found exhausted and drowned in the sea after being chased by off-leash dogs.
Whilst many dog owners behave responsibly and walk their dogs on leash on our beaches giving their dog’s sufficient exercise, many do not.
- Dogs off leash are not under effective control;
- There should be no more off-leash dog beaches on Phillip Island apart from the current off-leash beach at Grayden’s Road Ventnor;
- All other Council-managed beaches need to be on-leash beaches;
- No dogs should be on Nature Parks’ managed beaches at any time;
- Council should be congratulated on the success of the Blue Gum Reserve dog off-leash area;
- Council should identify alternative off-leash land based areas in Newhaven, Cape Woolami, Ventnor and Smiths Beach;
- Council should install signage at key beach locations that is clear and concise with graphics where appropriate; and
- Council and Nature Parks’ enforcement of regulations needs to be comprehensive and enforced year round.
4 March 2019