Weymouth town councillors have revealed that walking your dog on the local beach this summer will continue to be punishable with a £100 fine.
By, 2 Jun 2019
Despite annual protests from the local dog-lover community – many of whom moved to the area hoping to take their furry friend for long walks on the beach – the 24-hour ban was reactivated on Good Friday of this year. Dogs will not be permitted to re-enter the beach area until September 30th.
The £100 fine for taking a dog for a stroll on the beach can rise to £1000 if the case winds up in court.
‘It's a small horse’
Bizarrely, the only way around the ban may be to disguise your dog as a small horse when you take her for a canter along the sands. Horses are still allowed to be exercised on Weymouth Beach in the evenings after 7pm. (Guide dogs are allowed access around the clock.)
The dog ban continues at night because dog excrement can cause toxicity in the sea. In particular, the risk of toxocara – roundworms whose eggs can cause serious infections in humans – is claimed to be a reason to keep dogs off beaches.
However, toxocariasis “is a very rare infection,” according to the UK Kennel Club: “on average for every one confirmed case ten people are struck by lightning in the UK.”
According to the Pet Health Council, roundworm eggs take 2-3 weeks to mature, in which time the poop will have been cleared up by owners or washed away by the waves.
Meanwhile, humans remain the biggest cause of harm at the beach and in the ocean.
Compromised water quality could lose the beach its precious Blue Flag status.
“DEFRA have previously advised that a 24-hour dog ban assists in protecting bathing water quality during the bathing season,” town clerk Jane Biscombe stated, as reported in the Dorset Echo.
Meanwhile, the county dog unit will be out looking for dogs having fun on the beach and move in to stop it swiftly and mercilessly.
“Dorset Council accommodate the dog warden service and have very heavy workloads although they do try and attend Weymouth seafront whenever they can for random patrols,” Biscombe continued. “Beach staff advise dog owners on a daily basis as to the restrictions and the areas in use during the summer.”
Rats, cats, seagulls, and foxes can also carry the toxocara roundworm. They may continue to enter and leave the beach freely.