Sunderland dog owners split on summer beach dog bans
Written by Hugh Hutton on 6th May 2022
The recent dog exclusion zones on Roker and Seaburn beach have left many dog walkers split on opinions.
For many dog walkers, a walk on the beach is a great way to make memories with their canines.
But from May 1 until September 30, some North East beaches have introduced restrictions for our four-legged friends.
Sunderland City Council blame a minority of “irresponsible” dog walkers for the beach restrictions, which are part of their Public Space Protection Order (PSPO, introduced to tackle a range of anti-social behaviour issues.)
But some dog walkers insist the timeframe for the beach bans is illogical.
A regular dog walker on Roker beach said: “I’d be okay with the ban during the school holidays, but the problem is that it’s not – no one is actually on the beach because all the kids are in school all day.
“The ban is from the 1 May until the 30 September. The holidays don’t start until July and the 3 September. The summer holiday ends so that’s almost four weeks that we can’t use an empty beach.
“If the council had the restrictions from when the start of the summer holidays until the finish, it would be much better rather than not being able to go on the beach for another four weeks.”
Another regular dog walker on Roker and Seaburn beach said: “There’s been a lot of controversy about this topic but I think it’s the right decision to ban the dogs on one part of the beach.
“I think the council have dealt with it well and have managed to provide something for everyone so that we can all enjoy the beach.
“I think it’s all come down to this because some dog walkers ruin it for the rest of us; by not picking up the dog litter.
“And some people won’t stick by the rules and will go on the other beach with their dog. I’ve seen a few, they’ll get found out and will get a fine.
“It’s just hard because there is no one here to regulate it, so how can these people get caught?”
Across both beaches there are signs showing where dog walkers can and can’t go, with anyone found breaching these restrictions in line for a fixed penalty fine of £100.
Michelle Coates, Neighbourhood Enforcement Manager at Sunderland City Council, said: “We’re lucky enough to have some fabulous beaches in Sunderland with more than enough space for everyone, so we would ask anyone planning to take their dog for a walk along the beach to make sure that they check the signage and observe the zones.
“We would also ask people to make sure that they clean up after their dogs. Although the vast majority of our residents do this, we still see some irresponsible dog owners who allow their dogs to foul on our footpaths, green spaces and beaches and don’t clear it up.
“This has resulted in us issuing 194 fixed penalty notices for dog fouling and dog control offences citywide in the last year, and 62 for dog fouling and dog control at Roker and Seaburn beaches over the same period.”