Chris Packham joins Instow beach dog ban row

Chris Packham joins Instow beach dog ban row

TV presenter Chris Packham has joined a row over the future of dog walking on a Devon beach.

The Springwatch host wrote a letter backing a group of dog owners who are campaigning to prevent a proposed ban on dog walking at Instow beach.

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An Instow Parish Council working group has asked North Devon Council to create a Public Space Protection Order to keep dogs off a large section of the village's beach in spring and summer.

Part of Chris' letter reads: "Why when eight million people share their lives with dogs are we forced to leave them at home, in our cars or tied up outside shops? When did all this nonsense start? Why are we taking it sitting down?"

According to DevonLive, he added: "Let me be very clear - there are many parts of the countryside where our dogs are an absolute nuisance - worrying or attacking farm stock, fouling recreational areas or disturbing ground nesting birds in the breeding season, worse, on nature reserves.

"But in places where no such nuisance can result then we should have the ability to responsibly exercise ourselves and our dogs."

The issue of creating a 'no-go zone' for dogs was floated in October 2015, and was set to be revisited 18 months later.

Chris Packham joins Instow beach dog ban row

The working group asked North Devon Council to create an order covering the area between Instow Quay and Lane End Road, specifying dogs are not allowed in the area between 1 April and 30 September. The order, which would have to be agreed with police, the landowner and community groups, would last for three years.

Some members of the working group said they had had 'bad experiences' with dogs at the beach.

However, Joanne Bell, of the Dog Walkers Alliance, said: "There are no problems with dogs on the beach. We need to stop thinking about Instow beach as a beach and think of it as a river bank.

"I'm outraged by the small minded attitudes of some on Instow Parish Council. Even if we lose we will not obey a ban."

According to the North Devon Gazette, in his letter to Joanne, Chris added: "What you tell me about this beach suggests that since no-one will be swimming, paddling or sunbathing - indeed using it for anything other than walking, that it is the most suitable site to permit dog walking.

"Pooping and scooping is mandatory - there is no excuse to leave dog faeces behind. Pick it up and bin it.

"Put bins on the beach - its that simple, dogs are our companions, our friends, and too many people every bit as important as any human counterparts.

"Would I leave my child in the car or tied up outside a shop? No, so I'm not leaving my dog there.

"Its time for us to all grow up a bit, respect hygiene considerations but not allow stupid rules to ruin lives."

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