A controversial dog beach which opened just weeks ago could face imminent closure after environmentalists promised a serious legal challenge and called it a threat to human hygiene and marine life.
The small stretch of beach at the western end of Torre del Mar was officially declared a dog beach on August 21.
But Axarquia environmental action group GENA, claim it was opened without the proper authorisation and threatens unique fauna at the wetlands of the river Velez, an area of special ecological interest.
If the closure goes ahead it is certain to inflame the row between dog lovers and those opposed to such schemes.
Head of GENA, Rafael Yus, said laws were already in place which prohibited pets from splashing around in public waters during bathing season, “unless the beaches are unfit for swimmers.”
This is open to such wide interpretation, claims Yus, that the only reason the local council got away with using it was because someone put a poster up claiming it was unfit.
Yus points out that people have swum there without problems for many years and there was no monitoring or lifeguard presence, meaning it was absurd to label the area as unfit, especially since many dog owners have been paddling around with their furry friends since August 21.
There is also a local by-law operative in Velez-Malaga which insists that dogs out in public are kept on a leash, a regulation at odds with the notion of taking a dog out for a swim.
Dog beaches have become symbolic of the conflict between dog lovers and the wider public this summer, igniting outrage and delight in equal measure as more and more are slowly established across the Spanish coastline.