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Coastal Canines Could Prove Costly This Summer

By Georgie Jeffreys on November 29, 2011 in News

Photo: Grant Brooks

Dogs on beaches are a little like children in cafes. They create a lot of noise, make an unsightly mess and prove to be either really cute or just down right annoying. However, unlike dogs on beaches, taking your kid to the local coffee shop won’t score you a $330 fine – no matter how irritating or loud – at least not in the Randwick City Council jurisdiction.

It would seem, though, that dog owners across the east are revolting against the penalties, subsequently causing the council to take action and ‘remind’ locals that their hounds should be leashed when in public and kept well away from the surf and sand at all times.

“Each year we receive numerous complaints about owners disregarding the rules and taking their dogs for a swim at the beach,” a Randwick Council spokesperson recently commented.

“Council Rangers will be monitoring all of Randwick City’s beaches and bays, especially now the weather is warming up, and I strongly urge dog owners to respect the rules and think of other beachgoers before they take their dog for a swim.”

Not surprisingly, however, many residents aren’t so keen on the restrictions, and the subject alone seems to be hot enough to make some a little peeved.

Sophie Begley, 24, lives in Maroubra with her two dogs, Peanut and Lola, and says that the limits placed on both pets and owners are frustrating to say the least.

“People try and argue that dogs leave a mess at the beaches, but at least most owners clean up after their dogs. The amount of people who leave rubbish on the beach is ridiculous,” she said.

“I know the main concern is hygiene, but babies do their business in the water and they aren’t banned. Maroubra is huge so why can’t that beach at least have a dog-friendly area at the end?”

However, not all locals share Sophie’s sentiments, with many claiming that it’s not only inappropriate, but also a little unpleasant to have a swim and a dabble in dog-contaminated water.

Eleni Papacharalombous, having lived in the east for over 35 years, reckons that people who insist on taking their pets to the beach are discourteous and inconsiderate.

“I have six young grandchildren, who all love to swim and who all love dogs, but there’s no way I’ll let them in the ocean whilst there are any pets sharing the sea,” Eleni said.

“Call me old-fashioned, but why would anybody want to swim with a dog and the kinds of germs they shed whilst in the water. Sure, you can clean up after your dog when they’re on land, but it’s a little harder to do it whilst they’re swimming!”

Though opinions seem to be divided on the issue, at least one local dog owner sees the merit in the heated opposition.

“Look, I’ve had a dog for 12 years and I take him swimming at the beach every evening,” Ron Brown of Coogee said.

“But you know what, as soon as the council starts allowing dogs down there, there will be God knows what kind of breeds taking over the sand and the ocean.

“Sure, my Labrador is okay on his own, but if there are Terriers, Rottweilers and all sorts around, the beach becomes less of a friendly and family type place.”

For a full list of off-leash areas in the Randwick and Waverley local government areas, visit or