A welcome addition for our four-legged friends or a blight on our beaches?
If you read the letters page of the Euro Weekly News or visit a local social networking site it’s clear that there are few issues that divide opinion at the moment as much as the emergence of dog beaches along parts of the Costa Blanca.
Calpe Town Hall have been considering opening one of their beaches to dogs and took the novel approach of opening a meeting to the public to discuss this on April 14. Carole Saunders, head of the town halls Citizen’s Participation Department spoke to us about their progress.
As expected the proposal divided opinion and a final decision is still to be made pending a full review. However, three beaches in Calpe are still under consideration to allow dogs.
Carole stressed that if the proposal does go ahead it will in no way involve either of the towns two main Blue Flag beaches. They are also considering asking for volunteers to help clean the beaches though of course the onus should remain with the dog owner.
Asked if Calpe had seen an increase in tourists with dogs since the changing of the pet passport laws Carole thought this was certainly the case, particularly for people travelling in camper vans and the like.
When UK expatriates were asked from across the Costa Blanca their comments regarding their area, again opinion was fiercely divided. Wendy Smith, while strongly supporting the idea, stressed that owners should be sanctioned if they don’t clear up after their dogs.
On the other hand Roger Goss, who himself owns three dogs, still thinks they are a bad idea during the summer months. The overwhelming concern for those against the idea is the mess caused by dog waste and whether this will be cleared up.
Dave Lawrie, for example, states that many towns have dog parks where owners do not clear up the mess, why would beaches be different? Those in favour feel a small part of most towns set aside for dogs and their owners to enjoy would be a real benefit and that any responsible owners would ensure that the set aside areas are treated with respect.
It may be that after the special beaches have been in use for a while then further discussion will be needed to gauge if they have been a success or not. Meanwhile the debate continues.