LYME Regis town councillors have agreed to press West Dorset District Council to have the dog control orders amended on the front beach.

Members of the town management and highways committee want to see the policies regarding dogs on the beach changed following reports a young boy was attacked while on the beach in December.

Cllr Owen Lovell called on the town council to get the Public Space Protection Orders changed following this incident, as well as press for a prosecution of the dog owner, but this needs to be done by the family of the child.

Currently dogs are allowed to run free, without a lead on the front beach from October to April.

Speaking in the public forum of the meeting, Zoe Patrick, who has recently moved to the town, told the town council she was shocked to hear that dogs were allowed on the sandy beach and was surprised incidents didn’t happen more often.

She said: “There should be a safe space that you can come and swim, bring your children down to the beach without worrying about being attacked by a dog or the mess they make.

“Dogs are allowed on all the other beaches in Lyme, so it is not an issue if you have a dog and you have nowhere to go – they can come to Lyme, they can go in the sea and they can go on the other beaches, but it leaves those of us that want to enjoy the beach dog free. For whatever reason, there is no where for us to go and I feel that should only be fair.”

Cllr Brian Larcombe was in full support and said: “We have all noticed the number of day trippers every weekend when the sun shines, all year round, and it is a major problem because of the period that the dog ban is lifted, the town is just inundated with dogs.

“I would like to propose that we press to extend the dog ban to an all year round order the length of the main front beach.”

Cllr Derek Hallett said that since WDDC took over the dg controls, Lyme’s beach is now “a dog’s toilet”.

Cllr Michaela Ellis, mayor of Lyme Regis, said: “This council did fight long and hard to get the dog ban, I do believe we need to extend it onto the pebbles and what we ended up with was a one size fits all by WDDC. They don’t realise Lyme Regis is unique.

“I think we need to be writing to west Dorset, starting now, to tell them that we do not wish to have dogs on that beach.

“We need to get this in place and start the process quickly.”

ADDITIONAL controls may be introduced to tackle poor behaviour by some dogs on the beach at Lyme Regis.

There have been recent complaints about fouling, dogs being out of control and gaining access to beach huts and a child being injured.

District councillors heard on Tuesday that the Front Town Beach was already covered by a Public Space Protection Order which has been in place since 2017. Dogs are allowed on the beach between the end of September and May 1st. The current order expires on October 16th, 2020 when it must be reviewed although the committee heard that the process may start later this year.

Local councillor Daryl Turner said it was thought that extra patrols by enforcement officers might be the answer with some town council staff authorised to carry out the duties in addition to the district council’s own staff.

Bridport councillor David Rickard asked that any tightening up on the regulations also be considered for West Bay which, he said, had similar problems from time to time.

Councillors were told that legal action was always considered against errant pet owners, whether for bad behaviour or fouling, but usually members of the public were reluctant to act as witnesses.