Dog fight over Emu Point beach

Albany Advertiser
A dog fight has erupted over a section of beach at Emu Point.
Camera IconA dog fight has erupted over a section of beach at Emu Point. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

A dog fight has erupted over a strip of beach at Emu Point with 300 residents signing a petition to get off-leash dogs off the sand.

The petition was tabled at last week’s City of Albany council meeting, calling on councillors to reverse a 2018 decision to designate the section of beach as a dog exercise area.

The designation allows dogs to be exercised off-leash.

The beach in question is opposite Cunningham Street on the south side of the point.

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It was included in the City’s dog exercise areas in November 2018 in response to requests from residents, but signage was only installed in December.

Spencer Park resident Sue Buckley said the dog beach designation was “totally inappropriate” and threatened the safety and tranquillity of the area.

“Beachgoers are confronted by roaming dogs,” she said at last week’s council meeting.

The City’s Development and Infrastructure Services Committee will consider the petition next Wednesday.

The dog exercise area at Emu Point.
Camera IconThe dog exercise area at Emu Point. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

In a report to the committee, City reserves manager Jacqui Freeman recommended the City investigate four alternatives: allowing dogs to exercise on leashes, prohibiting dogs at the beach altogether, restricting use based on seasons and times, and installing a barrier to stop dogs moving between dog exercise areas and dog prohibited areas.

Public comment would be sought before a report was presented to councillors.

Ms Freeman’s report said there was a “high level” of community interest in the subject with a clear split in opinion.

“The change at Emu Point Western Swimming Beach is in response to many requests over the last few years from residents and beach users to have a dog exercise beach that is family friendly for families to take their dog to a beach where the children can swim in a sheltered area,” the report said.

“There are beaches around Emu Point that remain prohibited for dogs for those users that would prefer to be away from dogs.

“Ranger presence has been increased during the months following the change in signage and spike in complaints. Rangers are visiting the area daily to educate users of the changes and appropriate dog management behaviour.”

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