DOGS will not be freed to roam along Frankston foreshore after councillors voted against a trial of a leash-free area between Frankston Pier and the Olivers Hill boat ramp.
Councillors decided at last week’s monthly public council meeting against a four-month trial from December to allow pet pooches to be off leash on the beach and a plan to test allowing dogs to be walked by owners on leads within central Frankston.
Cr Glenn Aitken brought a jar of dog excrement into council chamber picked up from the nature strip in front of his home to graphically illustrate his opposition to allowing dogs into central Frankston streets.
“I have the hard evidence here, hygienically sealed,” Cr Aitken said. “Most people will clean up after themselves but there will be some who won’t.”
He also voiced concerns about dogs attacking people and other dogs.
“Dogs’ behaviour is unpredictable … most animals are unpredictable.”
Cr Colin Hampton also opposed relaxing council bylaws to allow dogs to roam freer.
“I’ve seen problems with dogs attacking other dogs on the beach,” he said.
“Unfortunately not all dog owners are responsible.”
Cr Steve Toms spoke in favour of allowing dogs into Frankston’s central business district for economic reasons since people “are spending their money elsewhere” at shops where dogs are welcome.
“I support dogs back into the CBD. It’s something I campaigned on in my election campaign last year.”
Cr Toms played down fears that Frankston Council would be partially responsible for any dog attacks in the city centre if a trial was introduced.
“In legal advice that we have received from council’s lawyers, Maddocks, they have informed of the fact that council would indeed not be liable should a dog attack take place.”
He said there are “hundreds” of dogs in Frankston and attacks are infrequent and are “isolated” in nature.
Crs Sandra Mayer and Michael O’Reilly also supported the council officer report recommending a trial for dogs off leash along the foreshore and on leash in central Frankston.
Cr Mayer unsuccessfully argued for dogs to be allowed into central Frankston when she was mayor in 2015.
Cr O’Reilly, a postman, said he had been “attacked four times in the past two years”, mostly by “little fluff ball” dogs, but he said responsible owners should be allowed to walk dogs along the beach, especially in the winter months.
He noted other bayside municipalities have designated off-leash areas along beaches.
Cr Kris Bolam said there is “no evidence” that allowing dogs into the city centre will boost the local economy.
“My opposition to dogs in the CBD is historically known — as a private citizen I made my views known.”
Cr Quinn McCormack, Cr Lilian O’Connor and mayor Cr Brian Cunial also opposed allowing dogs to roam on beaches and in the city centre.
The debate was instigated again by a mandatory review of council’s Domestic Animal Management Plan required every four years.
A proposed 24/7 curfew for cats was also voted down.
Cats in the Frankston region should be confined to homes “from sunset to sunrise”, according to council bylaws.