The Isle of Wight Council has ruled that dogs will have to be kept on leads at St Helens Duver. Picture by Robin Crossley.
DOG owners will have to put their pets on leads on an Isle of Wight beach — despite councillors being told imposing a control order could be subject to legal challenge.
Isle of Wight Council officers recommended councillors reject a proposed amendment to the Dogs on Leads Order 2008, requiring dogs be kept on leads at St Helens Duver.
But the authority’s executive over-ruled them last night (Tuesday) agreeing St Helens should be brought into line with most other Island beaches, which are covered by an order.
At the request of St Helens Parish Council, which received complaints about dogs taking food from children and knocking a man over, the Isle of Wight Council asked Islanders whether dogs should be kept on leads during the summer at St Helens.
In the consultation just 22 people were in favour of the order but an overwhelming 36 respondents and a 246-signature petition, were against it.
Sustainability portfolio holder Cllr Luisa Hillard said she reluctantly had "no option" but to support the consultation result.
But Cllr Bob Blezzard, who attended the meeting as a member of the scrutiny panel but does not sit on the executive, said: "Why penalise the 99 per cent of responsible dog owners for the irresponsible one per cent where there are laws to deal with that."
However, deputy leader Cllr Steve Stubbings said: "I am a dog lover but I think there are places where dogs shouldn’t be allowed to run free and one of those placess is public beaches when people are on them."
The order, which was passed with seven votes in favour and one abstention (Cllr Hillard) will operate between May 1 and September 1.
There is a maximum fine of £1,000 for breaking it.