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Letter Of The Month… Disturbing The Peace

By Community, Dog and Ocean Lover of Bronte on April 5, 2013 in Other

Photo:  Ann Noid

Photo: Ann Noid

I love animals, particularly dogs, and I love the ocean. I live in a small flat very close to the beach and park at Bronte but I don’t own a dog as I feel it is a bit cruel to have an animal stuck in a flat all day, even though I am very close to the park and the beach and would be able to walk it twice daily.

Now that silly season is over, around 6pm on weeknights down at the beach is a really wonderful time. It is a time when people from all around Waverley and across Sydney come to the beach. Friends bump into each other, there are lots of parents with their toddlers and there is a very real sense of community. Some people arrange to meet at the beach and some people just come here knowing they will most likely see someone they know.

There is no need for me to tell your readers that these kinds of interactions are what creates a real sense of community. The south end of Bronte – the pool area, the raised patch of grass and the promenade at the top of the steps near the Bogey Hole, are places where people like to congregate. People who have never met before will stop and smile warmly at each other, look out over the ocean and enjoy the beauty and peace of this amazing place. People are relieved after a long, hot day running around and working to get themselves and their kids down to the beach to relax.

The locals often comment about coming for a swim to wash away the day. Lots of people including family groups, people on their own and all the regular faces come to sit on the grassy patch above the Bogey Hole. People don’t really sit around with headphones on and, although they might be chatting, the common reason we all come here is the ocean.

It is an easy topic for conversation: “How was your swim?” “What was the water like?” It really brings us together as a community, so much so that Bronte has been re-ferred to as the ‘Village by the Sea’ and the sea is probably the most constant thing in many of our lives. We live near it so we can interact with it – swimming, watching, smelling and listening. Yes, I am getting to my point…

After a stressful and hot day at work, people do not appreciate coming to the beach, enjoying their swim and then being subjected to the punishing torment of a dog’s incessant barking. Last night a person left their dog tied to the fence on the promenade, just on the south side of the Bogey Hole, for at least an hour between 6pm and 7pm. Many of us tried to comfort the dog but to no avail. People could hardly hear each other talking, beachgoers lying on the grass trying to catch up on a nap were disturbed and some people simply got up and left. All the while the owner was nowhere to be found.

Some people who can’t swim or walk on the sand, including the elderly and disabled, come to the south end of Bronte because they know they can sit and look at the sea, listen to its soothing sounds and feel the cool breeze on their skin. People come here to unwind, think, meditate and relax. Sadly, it is really difficult to do this when your peace is being drowned out by a very distressed dog barking at painful volume. And where is that owner? Definitely out of earshot.

What benefit is it to the dog to do this, I ask? Poor dog. Would the dog have been happier if it was taken for a walk and returned home while its owner was in the surf? The beach- goers certainly would have been a lot happier and so would the dog.

Tying your dog up and leaving it unattended for more than just a few minutes is very cruel, yet this seems to happen all the time at Bronte. If you really love your dog then you should treat it with love and respect. If you love the beach you should leave your dog at home while you are in the surf.

If you value a sense of community, please don’t be anti-social by tying your dog up and leaving it to get distressed and bark right next to where at least 100 people are trying to relax and enjoy the simple pleasures of the ocean. It is so anti-social and I just find it quite sad that people need reminding of this.