For seven months of the year, dogs are allowed to run freely on our local beaches. As a result, my children are petrified and refuse to use the beaches during this period.
They do not have a phobia of dogs, but have a rational fear of dogs jumping up at them when they attempt to play on the sand. This happens without fail whenever we go on the beach.
In the summer, we are on the beach every day. It is lovely. However, between October and the start of May, we cannot go down to the sand, despite living only a stone’s throw from Tynemouth Long Sands.
I love dogs, but to a child, an enthusiastic dog trying to be friendly would be similar in size to a horse jumping up at an adult. Children do not have adult logic and despite our best efforts to reassure them that the dogs mean no harm, it is still traumatising for them.
At a time where we are, as a nation, trying to encourage children to get away from their screens and to do more exercise, it seems madness that they cannot play without fear on at least part of our beautiful beaches.
I am not asking for a dog ban, all I propose is that part of the beach is reserved for non-dog users all year round, or there is at least a ‘dogs must be kept on a lead’ zone.
I would be very interested to gauge the council’s and dog-owners’ response to this compromise, particularly the latter suggestion.
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