In the interests of a balanced debate on the subject of the unabated ‘freedom’ for dog owners and their pets to roam over part of the beach during the summer, when families without dogs wish to enjoy the area without the undoubted nuisance that some dogs can cause, I feel I must comment.

Readers should not be swayed by self-appointed ‘Leaders of Dog Alliances’ – they have no legitimate right to represent anybody.

The parish council has been duly elected and it is its duty to consider all sides of the argument to satisfy the majority, not a vocal few. 99 per cent of ‘doggers’ who use the beach do not live in Instow.

Most beaches in the area do not allow dogs on the beach during the summer months. This seems eminently sensible, by putting people first.

Dog owners treat their dogs as children but they are not and it cannot be argued that the freedom of dogs to go where they like should carry more weight than the rights of families to enjoy the sand at Instow without the nuisance of defecating and urinating dogs.

The way this has been reported as a ‘dog ban’ only seeks to create antipathy between the two sides of the argument. A control order to continue dogs to be walked in designated areas of the beach, allowing other non-dog owners to enjoy the dog-free part of the beach, is the only sensible answer.

It is probably spurious to assert that businesses will suffer if this were to come about. I have seen no evidence that dog walkers regularly spend large amounts of cash in our pubs or delicatessen.

Indeed they arrive in their cars, walk and then leave. In the summer the families are the ones on holiday who spend the cash.

The extreme views that have been expressed since the announcement that our parish council (duly elected, remember) is to consider this again, should not sway them from pursuing a long-overdue arrangement that will suit both sides.

One man’s freedom is another’s loss. Let us get a sense of proportion, separate the dogs from people, who when sitting on the beach may feel vulnerable by the attentions of dogs big and small.

Instow resident and dog owner
Name and address supplied

What do you think? Should the parish council introduce a dog ban during the summer months? Email your views to out newsdesk – click here or write to Opinion, North Devon Gazette, Old Station Road, Barnstaple, North Devon, EX32 8PB. Don’t forget to send your name, address and telephone number.

POLL: Should dogs be banned from Instow Beach? Vote here.

MORE: Partial ‘dog ban’ proposed for Instow Beach