Video: Protest at dogs’ beach ban

Thousands of dog owners took part in a march along the West Strand in Portrush on Sunday to protest against proposals from the local authority that would see their pooches banned from the beach.

Coleraine Borough Council is currently considering the possibility of prohibiting dogs from council-owned beaches all year round in order to stem the rising tide of dog fouling.

Dog owners and their pets at Portrush West strand

Dog owners and their pets at Portrush West strand

However the proposal has sparked uproar along the north coast, being labelled an assault on responsible dog-owners, and prompted yesterday’s Barking Mad Dog Walk.

Consultation on the dog control order, which would also prohibit allowing dogs off the lead in certain areas, runs until this week.

However over 1,000 people made their feelings clear in Portrush, including BBC Radio Ulster presenter and Coleraine man Alan Simpson.

Photographer Steven McAuley described the crowd as “massive, there was a bit of rain to begin with but after that the sun came out and the weather was lovely, but to be honest even with the bad weather the crowd turnout was massive”.

Helping to lead the opposition is Portrush barman Willie Gregg, featured in the video above. He said: “It’s down to the owners to make sure that they look after their dog’s poo and lift it like the responsible adults that they should be.

“There’s a small percentage of them aren’t doing it and then everybody’s getting tarred with the same brush and this is unacceptable.”

A spokesperson for the council said dog fouling was an ongoing problem in the borough, with “vast sums of taxpayers’ money” used by the council to maintain a clean environment.

“If and when these restrictions are imposed by council, the environmental services department will actively patrol the area to monitor compliance,” a spokesperson said.