Bring in licence for dogs on the beach

I am in total agreement with your correspondent, Rosaleen Evans (News Guardian, March 6), regarding the nuisance of dogs on Tynemouth beach.

Having run on the beach and at other places for many decades, I have suffered numerous incidents involving dogs, two of which hospitalised me.

For various reasons, aggressive dogs and their equally aggressive owners tend not to appear on the beach.

Most dogs on the beach are, like their owners, friendly, although a few will have a nip.

When running, however, I am constantly plagued by dogs jumping at me, with the real possibility of being tripped.

Recently I saw a toddler playing in a rock pool. A dog ran up to her and licked her face.

The dog owner, typically, laughed and walked away.

Dog bites, particularly on the face, can be devastating.

A boy I knew was at the age of nine bitten on the face by an Alsatian dog. Following this he never grew. I have no knowledge of any medical investigation, but the popular view was that the dog bite was to blame.

The dog which licked the little girl’s face may have previously had its nose or tongue in various forms of filth.

Toxocariasis is an infection caused by a worm which inhabits dog excrement. The eggs hatch in the tissues of the victim and the larvae make their way to the eye, where they eat the eye.

Every year roughly ten or 12 children in the UK are blinded by this, transmitted through contact with the excrement.

Although many owners do clean up after their dogs (although clearly they cannot remove every scrap) principally through education and the fear of a fine, there are those who don’t, and the evidence is visible on the beach and pavement in the country.

Most days I run along a footpath between Beaconsfield and St George’s Church, and this is popular with dog-walkers, and, being slightly ‘off the beaten track’, is usually contaminated with dog excrement.

The solution? The most satisfactory course would be to ban all dogs from North Tyneside’s beaches and public parks.

I fear Rosaleen’s plea for a council patrol would be rejected without hesitation on grounds of shortage of funds.

My suggestion is that anyone wishing to take their dog to such places should be obliged to buy a licence from the council.

The funds so obtained would then be used to pay for beach wardens and anyone without a licence would be expelled from the beach.

Anyone who failed to clean up after an animal or whose animal was in any way a nuisance to other beach users would also be fined.

Persistent offenders would be required to spend a day or two cleaning up dog excrement.

Anyone who feels these measures are unfair should consider how they would feel if their child was blinded through the selfishness of others.

Douglas Fulthorpe

Address supplied