I have read with interest the letters and articles surrounding the issue of the beaches within the Larne area. In response, I have the following comments to put before the council and Larne residents.
I have personally never seen any large numbers of dogs on the beach, and those I have seen have been accompanied by owners/dog walkers who I have witnessed are pretty swift at collecting up excrement left by their animals. I have even witnessed them collecting rubbish and dead wood littering the beach and placing it in the one and only bin provided - Something that they should not have to do but carry out nonetheless. I would say that was a clear sign that these people are responsible and care for the preservation of a clean and tidy beach area for all to enjoy.
I have never witnessed dogs pestering other people whether adults OR children. I have, however, witnessed many an incident of children taking huge delight in being able to see the dogs and even stroke them under the supervision of parents and the dog owners. That, I believe is a good way of educating and socialising and to show children that dogs pose no threat to them provided they approach them in the correct manner and obviously avoid any that they are not sure of.
I wonder if the council has considered the consequences of banning certain residents who walk their dogs on the beaches in as much as actively undertaking direct discrimination against a minority group as well as the victimisation of these people.
I hope good sense will out in the actions of our elected representatives, especially as, despite notices displayed to the contrary, horses are being exercised on the beaches and motorcycles and quad bikes are using the beaches as a racetrack and practice area. This is far more of a threat to adults and children alike than a dog playing on the beach.
I have yet to see a horse rider clear up after their horse and the pollution with fumes and noise from the bikes, let alone the health and safety aspects, far outweigh the issue of dogs.
Come now council, consider carefully before taking action. The beaches are in no danger from dogs. Encourage responsible ownership, uphold current restrictions on motor vehicles and horses - there are plenty of roads, and country paths etc for them. And keep the status quo which works perfectly well without further interference from a council who have more important issues to deal with.
Name and address withheld.