Dogs must be on a lead at all times when walking on the promenade.

Dogs must also be on a lead on the beach at Rock a Nore between Groyne 1 and Groyne 3.

Dog walkers can use the beach from the Pier, westwards to Groyne 32 and from Groyne 42 (next to the slope at Marina) westwards.

Further information can be found in the Dog Controls pages, or pick up a leaflet from the Beach Office and the Lifeguard Station.

When walking your dog, there are a number of laws to follow, but equally there are so many grey areas I hope to clear up.

1 ) Always clear up your dog’s mess. (law)

Yes it’s biological, yes it will break down naturally if left for a couple of weeks but… Dog feces contain bacteria which are harmful not only to humans but also to other animals including dogs. There have been mystery illnesses killing dogs in various forests and more recently at the Sandringham estate. Collecting your dog’s waste will help prevent spreading of these diseases. If your dog trod in another’s waste, it could carry parasitic worms back home into your car and carpet, if the dog is medicated, your dog could end up ingesting some of this medication… and that’s ignoring the fact that it’s slippery to stand on and disgusting when you fall in it, or when a child falls in it, or decides to play with it.

Always carry plastic bags (freezer bags will do), always clean it up, and always put it into a bin. A dog waste bin is preferable, but there’ nothing wrong with using a normal bin if not available. If there are no bins, please do carry it home or to one, don’t blame the council or landowner for your laziness.

2 ) Keep your dog under control.

Dogs love to run, they love to chase and play, and this is ok providing you have some control. If your dog is running after a child’s football, you should be able to call him back to you. If he’s running around where children are playing, do the right thing and call him back. You may know he’s ok with children, but their parents don’t, and that can be scary. When parents watch you screaming and shouting for your dog to return and can see you have no control… their walk can be ruined and they will join a long line of non-dog-lovers campaigning to have our pets kept permanently on leash or worse muzzled. The more ammunition we give them, the weaker our case becomes.

3 ) Dogs must always be leashed next to roads. (law)

A reasonably well trained dog is still a danger on the road and should be on a nice, strong, short leash for his protection and the protection of others. I don’t care how good his heel work is, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If something were to suddenly spook him, if a stray dog came out of nowhere to attack or even if it’s just a cat, squirrel or a friend on the other side of the road. Dogs make a big mess when they splat and it’s your responsibility to keep him safe.

4 ) Keep dogs closely under strict control around livestock. (law)

A farmer is legally allowed to kill your dog if it ‘worries’ livestock on private land, even if from a public footpath, and even if you’re there with it! When around sheep, cattle and other animals, these are the farmer’s livelihood. Keep your dog leashed if it’s heelwork isn’t perfect, or you are permitted to use heel without a leash if you can keep him with you. Once you’re back on open land, let him run but try not to destroy crops, this could become a criminal damage case.

5 ) Stay away from leashed dogs.

I see people ignoring this time and time again. A leashed dog is leashed for a reason. It could be that the dog hasn’t yet been taught recall, it could be that he’s being walked by a friend or stranger. It could be that the dog is injured but it could equally be a viciously aggressive dog who would rip your dog’s face off as soon as he’d look at him. A dog this aggressive is kept on leash for your protection and the owner is perfectly within the law and his own rights to walk it. If your off leash dog gets attacked while theirs is legally under control, it’s your own fault. If you dog injures a lame dog further requiring extra vet treatment, it’s your fault. If your dog catches a nasty contagious dog disease from the dog, it’s your fault. If the dog walker feels threatened and decides to kick your dog in the face in self defence… sorry your fault again no matter how friendly yours was.

When you approach leashed dogs, call your dog to heel, it’s polite and saves problems. Ask the walker if they mind, it could be a puppy who needs socialisation, but don’t be insulted if they ask you to keep away.

6 ) The dog must wear a tag when outside with your surname and contact details (law)

I strongly suggest a mobile phone number if like most people you carry one everywhere and the first line of your address. If your dog escapes locally (more common) anyone who finds him will know where to take him avoiding getting fined at the dog pound. A mobile number is useful if you lose him at the park or away from home. Keep the details up to date, it can happen to anyone at any time and apart from being a legal requirement, will help you. A collar is also useful if somebody needs to capture your dog before running into a road.

Microchips are strongly recommended but you’re not legally obliged at the time of writing (this motion is being discussed however). If your dog is stolen or collar removed, he can still be traced to you. They usually cost around £25 at our vet and you generally only need to pay again (usually much less) when you change address.

7 ) Keep out of people’s gardens

This should go without saying, but I regularly see dogs, especially those on extending leads wandering in and out of gardens. This encourages scenting, and if he scents the driveway of another dog, the household dog will need to re-scent… the two dogs will develop a rivalry, and should they ever meet in the park… all hell will break loose.

8 ) Observe area bylaws

Certain beaches are out of bounds for dogs at certain times of the year. Some parks require your dog to be leashed throughout. Keep to these rules to keep out of trouble. Ignoring these rules can result in hefty fines.

Keep to these, keep out of trouble and keep on the right side of those people who want to speak out against our beloved fluffballs from frolicking in the summer sun. The more dog owners who ignore these, the more restrictions will be placed on us!