THE ‘terrible condition’ of Port Erin beach because of dog fouling has prompted a Colby mother-of-two to appeal to the local authority to take action.
Rachel Norton-Buchleitner, who has two children under five, wrote that they’re regular visitors to the beach and the amount of fouling ‘appears to be progressively increasing’.
The day before writing to the commissioners, she recorded that within 15 metres of the slipway, there were eight piles of excrement.
This made play by her children ‘impossible’, so they went home. It is unpleasant and a health hazard, particularly for children, ‘who invariably have their hands in or near their mouths’, she said.
‘The two main users of the beach are young families and dog walkers and the two have now become incompatible.’
Port Erin’s ‘biggest asset is it’s gorgeous, sandy beach,’ she said.
Visitors also go to the shops or cafes, but ‘if the beach is unusable, some of this collateral spend will be lost’.
Is better signage asking dog walkers to consider children when they ‘choose’ not to clear up after their dogs required, she asked.
Perhaps more publicity about the enforcement of fines for dog fouling was needed, she suggested.
She wrote that if there is no improvement ‘to an acceptable level’ perhaps a year-round dog ban should be enforced.
Last week, commissioner Nick Watterson said he was approached about the same issue recently, ‘the issue is perceived to be bad by a number of people’.
Commissioners’ chairman Ged Power said the commissioners were ‘taking steps to appoint a warden’.
Commissioner Barbara Guy said: ‘If it’s a toss up between protecting children playing or allowing dogs to roam, we have got to give priority to children.’
Commissioner Lorna MacKellar said dog owners ‘have got to appreciate they have got to pick it up’.
Clerk Mike Kewley (who retired from the post this week) said there is a beach dog ban from May 1 to September 1, but the board doesn’t have powers to enforce an outright ban.
Ms MacKellar proposed they introduce more prominent signs and publicise – on notice boards – the need to pick up and she was seconded by Mrs Guy.
• What do you think? Should there be a year-round ban on dogs from the beach? Email: opinions(at)newsiom.co.im or sign in to add your comment below.