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No room on dog beach for four-legged friends

feature nick main menou dog beach last sunday with no space for dogs
Meneou dog beach last Sunday with no space for dogs

One of the few places where dogs should be able to roam free

 

Summer is heating up: temperatures are soaring as are tempers, with rows flaring at the beaches as increasingly crowded spots are leading to people stepping on each other’s toes; or indeed paws.

The latest row spilled over onto social media after a dog lover took his furry friend to Meneou’s officially designated dog beach in Larnaca only to find the coastline rammed with cars, tents, tables and foukkou (charcoal grills).

Neocleous says up to 80 per cent of those on the beach did not have dogs.

“Collect your dogs, they’re scaring the children,” was one of the complaints levied against an incredulous Elmos Neocleous, who posted photos from his encounter on social media.

Pictures appear to show a lawless situation at the popular beach front, with cars parked just metres from the waves, fires being lit and generators powering all sorts of machines.

But the focus of Neocleous’ viral post was that a trip to one of Cyprus’ handful of official dog beaches resulted in him being told off for bringing his dog.

Each district is obliged to designate at least one beach as being dog friendly, with just a handful each year being granted such a status – meaning they’re few and far between.

Many animal lovers expressed their exasperation at the scenes captured by Neocleous, saying that they are being hassled and impeded at one of the few places where their dogs should be able to roam free.

Commenters thrashed it out as they bemoaned the general lack of inspections taking place across the beaches, with many claiming that the issues at the beach are chronic and well known.

“The district officer is responsible for the beaches and maintenance of the law,” Efi Xanthou of the Greens told the Cyprus Mail.

That raises the question as to whether inspectors are being sent to such beaches, but Larnaca’s district officer and deputy were not immediately available for comment.

But others claimed that the pictures from the Meneou dog beach are in fact further along the coast and not from the area designated as being for dogs.

feautre nick cars alongside the beach
Cars alongside the beach

Aside from the disagreements over the beach, animal lovers say they have faced an uphill struggle in securing the right to bring their pets to the beach.

But the Greens in 2020 were successful in amending the law so that the ban on dogs at general beaches was lifted.

“That’s correct – so they can’t be on ‘organised’ beaches (meaning no lifeguard, rented sunbeds and umbrellas and so on) or in Natura 2000 protected areas, such as much of Akamas,” Xanthou told us.

This means dogs are not allowed on beaches like Nissi in Ayia Napa and Mackenzie in Larnaca, but are allowed on ‘unorganised’ beaches. “So the law that the Greens amended in 2020 impacted beaches in general, but it still remains that each district must designate at least one beach which is specifically a dog beach – there’s about seven or eight,” she added.

Although Akel and Disy changed the philosophy of the proposal to a great extent, the Greens said at the time, “no one can deny that an unfair and arbitrary general ban on dogs on beaches has been lifted.”

Among the provisions added to the law, tabled by Disy, is that dogs are vaccinated and that their owners must carry with them its health booklet to avoid any reactions by other bathers on the beach and in the case of an emergency, to be able to prove the dog is vaccinated.

Owners who used to take their dogs to other public beaches risked being fined €85.

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