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Changes in Dog Time Sharing periods called for

Dear Beagle Editor, After almost 5 months, the Eurobodalla Shire council have IGNORED a petition sent to the Mayor and Councillors asking for more flexible access for people with dogs in the warmer months. The Eurobodalla Shire Council (ESC) has time sharing arrangements in place for dogs on 'some' allocated beaches in the Shire. These time share arrangements CURRENTLY mean that for those beaches, dogs are prohibited from access between 1st November to 30th April from 9am to 5pm. That's 6 months of the year!! Great start, to "sharing", but this does NOT serve the ageing rate-paying, VOTING residents of the Shire, many of whom have mobility issues that make walking during anything other than low tide, very difficult, if not impossible. It also does not serve busy parents or an increasing number of shiftworkers with dogs. These limitations currently prevent many RESIDENTS and visitors from enjoying a beach walk with their best friend for six very long months. We say that's not fair. Exercise for people AND dogs benefits the entire community. It benefits the physical and mental health. It creates key bonds between dogs and owners and creates a sense of belonging and community. It helps dogs AND people socialise. It creates healthier and happier environments for everyone. It saves hospitals money by improving the health of the community. We acknowledge that Council view time sharing on applicable beaches as occuring during "peak periods". However, realistically, peak periods for beach use is ONLY during NSW School Holidays. Peak Period is NOT 6 months long from spring through to autumn. Currently, when NSW schools are in, beaches really have very little use.Things have changed. People who own dogs now consider them to be part of their family! Other laws are changing to be more pet friendly too. Look at the new strata management rules where you now cannot unreasonably prevent someone from having a pet in a unit. Look at retirement homes where you can now take pets with you. There are now many outdoor bars and cafes that encourage people to bring their furry family member. ESC is still operating with a very outdated mindset and are NOT giving residents a fair go. We call upon the entire Eurobodalla Shire Council to PLEASE support a more realistic, workable and compassionate time sharing arrangement for both people AND dogs on our beaches. One that suits the ratepayers as well as the visitors that are so important to this region. Please change the November to April restrictions of dogs on allocated beaches and change them to apply ONLY during NSW School Holidays. ESC asked us to engage with them.....we have .....and they have IGNORED over 370 people who are asking for a review. ESC say they want to encourage people to be more active by throwing money at pathways but they won't let us walk our dogs on the beach between 9 and 5 for ALL of Spring and Summer. ESC say they support people with disabilities....many with disabilities have a dog for companionship and yet are unable to walk on the beach with their best friend unless it it low tide when the sand is firm. ESC can put out an online survey about parking but they can't manage one for dogs on beaches. ESC say they they will listen to their community. Well they are DEFINITELY not listening to us on this one. I would readers of The Beagle sign our petition and bring pressure on the Council to act for the people - not themselves. Kylie Clarke

#Community #Opinion

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