'Savage' off-leash dogs menace beach walker
AN EAST Ballina man has threatened to carry a golf club while walking after being threatened by "savage" unleashed dogs on Angels Beach last week.
The man, who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions, said the latest incident involving two dogs was not the first time he had been "menaced" while walking on the beach, which is signposted as an area where dogs need to be on leashes.
The man described the two dogs as "pit-bull/mastiff" cross and a "doberman-pig dog cross " - dogs which, he said, were "clearly savage hunting dogs".
The man, who has chronic injuries which prevent him from running, used a small backpack to fend off the dogs as the owner watched on.
He cited a 2012 story in which a Brisbane woman reportedly began carrying a golf club on her walks to defend herself against vicious dogs, and suggested that was what he needed to do.
"There are quite often children and elderly people on the beach in the southern area and it's only a matter of time before someone is seriously mauled - or perhaps killed - by an unleashed vicious mongrel," he said.
"These dogs are more often than not simply an extension of the basic character of the people who own them - that is, they are the type of people who couldn't give a s--- about either the law or the rights of others."
He also criticised Ballina Shire Council for not enforcing its rules.
"I see dogs virtually every day on Lighthouse Beach, Shelly Beach and at Flat Rock," he said.
"At least 70 per cent of the many dogs on Angels Beach are unleashed."
The council's manager of public and environmental health, Kerri Watts, said the council's four rangers patrolled Angels Beach, Flat Rock and Sharpes Beach "several times a day", generally between 6am to 4.30pm, with patrols extended during the summer months to 6.30pm.
She said in the past financial year from June 30, 2017, the council had received six complaints regarding dogs off leash at Angels and Sharpes beaches, but only one dog attack had been reported for the area.
She said there had been 55 reported dog attacks in the shire in this financial year, and there were 101 in the 2016/2017 period.
"Council rangers are not aware of any recent incidents on Angels Beach; however, members of the public are encouraged to contact council rangers on 6686 1210 to report an incident," she said.