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Rule-breaking dog walkers abused in North Devon

Group of dog walkers lined up on a beach
© Dog Walkers Alliance - Facebook

Disobedience may be the foundation of liberty, but in the small seaside town of Instow, liberty comes at the cost of civil unrest. Storm clouds loom over the small Devon town after a militant band of dog walkers stick their heels about a bylaw restricting dogs on a beach.

By Nick Whittle, 11 Jul 2019

Resolute dog walkers who continue to flout last year’s ban of dogs on the North Devon seafront are now being targeted by angry locals.

Devon Live reports that members of the public are openly “abusing owners” of dogs who access the beach in opposition to the seasonal ban.

The breach,by a militant dog walking brigade called the Dog Walkers Alliance, has pitted locals against each other. And there seems no end in sight for either side.

Council ban

Devon County Council enforces a seasonal ban on dogs throughout the county’s 250 miles of beaches. Between May and September – the tourist season – the council restricts access for dog owners in an effort to keep the beaches clean for families.

However, in most parts of the county the council also makes sure that there are adequate areas (including beaches) that dogs can still visit.

 

Hi, So many dog walkers have asked me where I bought my T shirt from! So if you want to support keeping your dogs on...

Posted by Dog Walkers Alliance on Tuesday, June 26, 2018

In Instow, dogs and their owners have year-long access to a huge swathe of coastal hinterland stretching a mile from the Instow Arms northwards.

Dog Walkers Alliance

That doesn’t seem enough for some members of the Dog Walkers Alliance: an activist group that claims the council’s imposition was wrong and is also unenforceable.

In a Facebook post on Sunday the group wrote: "Here we go again, another season and more abuse from the 'good people of Instow'.

"Having just spoken to three different people on the beach who have been abused.  We are now asking anyone who is abused for walking their dogs on the beach to please let us know."

The Dog Walkers Alliance says it will continue to flout the rules despite the abuse its members receive from townsfolk. In 2017 it organised a protest against the council’s scheduled imposition of the ban.

Despite their continuing efforts the ban remains in force.