Dogs on beaches

Dogs on beaches, another one of those subjects that splits public opinion. Should they be allowed on beaches, and if so should they be limited to certain times and beaches? That’s just a few questions raised at the newly formed Single Issue Panel (SIP) on this subject.

I am not on this Panel, but I decided to attend due to the fact most of my Electoral Division is on the coast, and any decision could effect those I represent. The current policies on allowing dogs onto beaches is confusing to say the least. This is partly due to the 6 former District Councils having different policies and by-laws. Even in the old areas not all beaches were treated the same. It’s a little confusing to know where you stand if you want to take a dog onto a beach.  I don’t envy this Panel, as I believe they have a difficult job to do in trying to make sense of it all. It’s going to be a lot of work for those 5 Councillors who sit on this Panel.

What I did find informative was clarification on certain parts of the law, enforcement and fines concerning dog fowling.  It turns out that all Cornwall Council staff can be authorised to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN). Even authorising a few extra staff would over come the problem of a lack of Dog Wardens. Also, Cornwall Councillors can be authorised too. Now that’s an interesting concept. Instead Cllrs moaning about lack of enforcement, they could help to solve it.

It also turns out that non-Cornwall Council staff can also be authorised as long as they complete the DEFRA approved course. This costs £1000 for 15 people and lasts for one day. If Town and Parish Councils become authorised, they keep the fines from the FPNs. Maybe that will be an incentive for them to get authorised. To be honest I got more out of the clarification on the law as the advice I’ve been given previously had been incorrect.

Maybe if every dog owner picked up their dogs mess there would be no need for enforcement and fines, but that of course is the $64,000 question as to why they don’t.