There is a lot of discussion currently about whether dogs should be allowed to be taken to the beach, as of May 1st, in Gibraltar, as well as many beaches in Spain, dogs are no longer allowed to be in these public areas.

But why?

Why can’t conditions be put in place for owners to be able to take their dogs as long as they adhere to certain conditions?

It’s fair to say, that in Gibraltar, there is not a great deal of open spaces where you can take your dogs to let them run, and give them the exercise they need. The beach is an obvious outlet, and it seems harsh that this option is removed for almost a third of the year when no alternative is provided.

I recently spoke to a man who said he was walking onto the beach with his dog when a woman confronted him to inform him that from May 1st the dog would no longer allowed to use the beach, something that he was fully aware of, and failed to see why she was being antagonistic about the situation as it was still mid April, but he also said it was hypocritical to pass judgement about dogs being on the beach when her child was in the process of taking a shit on the beach, which they just covered in sand.

So what is the real issue?

Why are people so offended by dogs being at the beach?

People carry obvious fears of dogs, that maybe a dog could bite, maybe the dogs will be loud, perhaps they’ll leave mess.

Aside from the chance of being bitten by a dog, which could warded if you were to implement specific conditions, then isn’t this the general beach setting. Isn’t the beach generally a loud place, where at the end of the day has been left a total mess?

Hang around at Catalan Bay or Eastern Beach to the very end of the day in the summer, and you will see what a horrendous state the public leave the beach. It’s disgusting. You have empty packets of crisps, and Sun Tops floating on the shoreline which have just been thrown to the ground, when there are bins only yards away.

People can argue that dogs smell, or dogs bark, which they do, but that’s a nonsense arguement. Unless someone’s wet dog has been lying on your towel, then the smell won’t travel, you’re more likely to smell the fumes coming off the exhaust pipes of the cars and mopeds that continuously drive up and down the stretches.

As for noise, if you’re comfortable with people playing music on their phones, children running around screaming, the ice cream van playing the same song on repeat for chunks of the day, and the continuous traffic going up and down(18 year old boys, fresh from passing their tests, blasting out Drake on their speakers), then a few barks are not going to make a huge amount of difference to your opinion of peace and quiet.

If you were to even provide a marginally fenced of eighth of a beach, where dogs can go then it would make life a lot easier for owners, it would allow dogs outdoor space, and it would segregate them from the public. People would know not to allow their children on that part of the beach, so there could be no complaints.

At the end of the day, pets are an owners responsibility, much like children are only as responsible as their parents. Parents are happy to let their children distribute waste, or bury their crisp wrappers, nappies, drinks, in the sand rather than throw it in the bin, which many of them will do over the next 5/6 months, and that shows a lack of responsibility.

If people are willing to be responsible then there wouldn’t be an argument.