Ruff deal for beach hounds

Controversial new pet restrictions for Inverloch beaches will be re-examined by Bass Coast Shire Council next week, following fierce community opposition.

As part of a review of its Domestic Animal Management Plan, council implemented new rules banning dogs from Inverloch beaches between 8am and 8pm from December to April each year.

Dogs were previously permitted on beaches at any time, provided they were on a lead.

The proposed restrictions has drawn strong criticism from Inverloch residents and the business community, who fear the restrictions will deter regular visitors, including those from the Latrobe Valley.

Inverloch accommodation owner Shane Clements said one of his customers had cancelled their holiday plans as a result of the ban.

“People from the Latrobe Valley won’t be doing their day trips anymore,” Mr Clements said.

“It’ll be having an impact on restaurants.”

Traralgon resident Kezia Easter, who walks her white German shepherd Bella at Inverloch, said the decision was a “real shame” as the summer months were the times owners wanted to take their dogs to the beach.

“It’s such a lovely thing to do,” Ms Easter said.

Former Wonthaggi Dog Obedience Group president Ivan Hipworth, who sat on the community advisory committee as part of the animal management plan review, said discussions involved designating areas dogs could be off leads.

However, a “last minute” push by councillor Jordan Crugnale meant dogs were banned altogether instead.

“We’re most upset because there’s a large amount of people who walk their dogs on the beach, including the elderly, that’s their social activity,” Mr Hipworth said.

“We also felt people walking after eight at night was a safety issue.”

The time restrictions will be reviewed at council’s meeting on 11 December.

“We are aware that some dog owners are unhappy with the restrictions being trialled,” council’s acting community and economic development director Antoinette Mitchell said.

“However, we have also received plenty of comments from people who are happy that the restrictions were put in place.

“Ultimately, we have to understand that the issue is about the shared use of the beach, with many people preferring to enjoy the beach without dogs.”

Ms Mitchell and Cr Crugnale reassured pet-owners the new rules were only a trial, which would be reviewed in May.

Cr Crugnale encouraged debate during the trial, which she said would test all possible scenarios.

Comments on the changes can be emailed to