CUT THE CRAP: Residents fed up with unruly dog owners
YAMBA residents are blessed with a dog-friendly beach at their doorstep. However, there is increasing evidence many are abusing the privilege.
At Pippi Beach dog owners are free to leave their dogs off the leash south of the Dolphin Park 4WD access point, but dogs are not permitted at the northern end. Clarence Valley Council confirmed a spike in complaints about dogs on dog-free beaches during the summer holidays.
But the stench is not confined to the dog-free zone of the popular sun-soaked stretch of sand at Yamba. Many regular users of Pippi Beach are fed up with dog owners failing to clean up after or maintain effective control of their canine friends in the permitted zone.
Several have contacted The Daily Examiner to express their concerns about what they perceive as a growing problem.
"Dogs have been s---ting on the beach for years and nothing has been done about it," one resident said.
"You can't fish at night because you'll step in it.
"A lot of dog owners walk up the beach with the dog 50 metres behind and have no idea what their dog is doing.
"Often I have to point out where their dog has defecated. If I didn't they wouldn't even know and wouldn't pick it up.
"Then a lot become abusive towards me."
Under the Companion Animals Act 1998 dog owners must immediately remove their dog's faeces and properly dispose of them. According to the Clarence Valley Council Local Companion Animals Management Plan 2006, rangers can enforce $220 on-the-spot fines for dog owners who do not comply.
Local authorities must also provide sufficient rubbish receptacles for the proper disposal of the faeces, including in off-leash areas. The council does have bins in place at the Dolphin Park 4WD entrance to Pippi Beach, but has stopped filling the bag dispenser there due to continued malicious damage.
Council acting ranger supervisor Tim Brenton urged dog owners to be responsible and take their dogs only to areas where dogs were permitted.
But the resident said not enough was being done to deter dog owners from doing the wrong thing in the permitted areas.
"I've been here 14 years and seen the ranger on the beach once in that time," he said. "I reckon it's about time (the) council either patrolled it properly or closed the beach down to dogs.
"If (the) council wanted, it could make me an honorary ranger and I could sit up there morning and night and make enough money for them not to put the rates up. That's how bad it is."
Another resident, who moved to the area to retire seven years ago, said it was a minority of locals who ruined the beach experience for everybody else.
"Fishermen are fed up with the dogs running riot," he said.
"They rummage through the gear to get to the bait and urinate on their tackle.
"Even when they have a doggy bag, they pick up droppings, tie the bag, but leave it in the sand, go for a walk and forget to collect it.
"I don't mind dogs being on the beach, and there are a lot of people who do the right thing.
"But I never see a ranger, period."
None of the residents who spoke to The Daily Examiner wanted to see a blanket ban on dog owners using the southern end of Pippi Beach. Nor did they want what one described as a 'knee jerk reaction' similar to the closure of the beach to 4WD vehicles in 2015.
NOTE: Residents chose to withhold their identity for fear of retribution.
Council urges dog owners to be responsible
EACH morning Yamba resident Matt Hassall and his four-legged mate, Cotie, can be found walking along Pippi Beach - Cotie running free, her lead nowhere in site.
Mr Hassall was one of dozens of dog owners who shared some daily exercise with their pets at the off-leash zone on Pippi Beach, south of Dolphin Park.
"The whole reason I bought where I did was because of the dog friendly beach," Mr Hassall said. "It's great."
Council acting ranger supervisor Tim Brenton said not all dog owners were as responsible as Mr Hassall.
Over the summer holiday period Mr Brenton said rangers responded to a spike in complaints about dogs on dog-free beaches.
In the Clarence Valley dogs were not allowed on Turners Beach, Main Beach Yamba, Convent Beach, Spooky Beach, the northern end of Pippi Beach, Brooms Head Beach south of the 4WD track, and Iluka Beach south of the 4WD track.
Mr Brenton said rangers reported most dog owners they found walking their dogs in prohibited areas were local residents who claimed they didn't know they were breaking any rules.
"They said they didn't know and didn't see the signs, especially on the beaches," Mr Brenton said.
Under the terms of the Companion Animals Act 1998 (s14) dogs on-leash were only allowed in parks, reserves, sporting fields, streets and beaches that did not display the 'Dogs Prohibited' symbol.
Detailed maps of the 18 off-leash dog walking areas in the Clarence Valley, including two beaches, can be found at www.clarence.nsw.gov.au.
- Grafton: Westward Park, Corcoran Park, Pioneer Park
- South Grafton: Plantation Reserve, Rushforth Park
- Junction Hill: Trenayr Rd
- Ulmarra: Small Park
- Wooli: Centenary Community Reserve (oval)
- Minnie Water: Hiawatha Rd
- Coutts Crossing: McIntosh Park
- Waterview Heights: Caramana Park
- Angourie: Green Point
- Maclean: Wherrett Park
- Iluka: Iluka Beach (north of 4WD access)
- Yamba: Pippi Beach (south of 4WD entrance), Wattle Park
- Brooms Head: Beach (north of Lake Cokora 4WD access)
- Tucabia: Victoria Park
Source: Clarence Valley Council Local Companion Animals Management Plan 2006