Petition Have an allocated beach in Jersey where dogs can be off their leads all year.

Dogs need a place to run all year and cool off in the sea. It works in Guernsey, let’s have one in Jersey too.

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I am not a dog owner but know plenty of owners and the Island is too small not to have 1 free reign beach for them. Limited exercise = Fatter unhealthy dogs.

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Ministers responded

This response was given on 20 June 2019

The existing rules are fair and are reasonably generous to dog walkers. They take account of the broad range of other reasons why both residents and tourists visit Jersey’s beautiful beaches.

Read the response in full

Guernsey and Jersey have both adopted laws that regulate beach usage. Both islands have sought to strike a balance between the needs, expectations and concerns of the full range of stakeholders, dog walkers included. There are nevertheless some differences in approach.

In Jersey, the relevant rules are set out in the Policing of Beaches (Jersey) Regulations 1959. Those Regulations allow dogs to be exercised on any Jersey beach all year round and there are no rules preventing them from entering the water. During the period May to September inclusive, however, a dog must be kept on a lead between 10.30 am and 6.00 pm.

Certain additional rules apply at all times. A person in charge of a dog must, for example, keep that dog under control so that it does not rush at, worry or otherwise interfere with the safety, comfort or convenience of any other person on the beach. They must also remove their dog faeces from the beach promptly.

The equivalent rules in Guernsey are similar to those of Jersey in some respects but there are also some key differences. Dogs may be exercised on several Guernsey beaches all year round and without a statutory obligation to use a lead at all times. They are nevertheless completely excluded from 7 specified beaches in Guernsey during the same May to September period (save for some very limited exemptions), as well as from beaches in Herm.

At the end of April 2019, Guernsey authorities announced that they would be reviewing their existing rules and considering whether there might be an environmental case for extending the summer dog ban to additional beaches.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both the time-based restrictions in Jersey and the geographically-based restrictions in Guernsey. Certain factors (for example where one lives or one’s occupation) may affect whether an individual dog owner might prefer one method over the other. In Jersey, however, it is considered that the existing rules have proved to be a workable compromise that has allowed for a broad range of different beach uses to coexist relatively comfortably. The existing rules also ensure that dog walkers in Jersey always have the convenient option to use the beaches that are closest to where they live – albeit that they must sometimes keep their dog on a lead.

It is worth noting that the rules affecting dogs on beaches have been raised frequently via conventional and social media in recent years, particularly during the April / May and September / October periods when the rules change.

One example of such discussions was an online poll, conducted in May 2014 by the Jersey Evening Post newspaper. It concluded that 48% (726) of respondents supported maintaining the status quo, while 26% (393) considered that dogs should be allowed to run off the lead on beaches all year round.

Jersey is a relatively small island, as the petition acknowledges. While it benefits from having a good number of beautiful beaches, all of those which might be considered large enough to service the demands of dog walkers may also be regarded as the favoured beach of Islanders and tourists who use the beach for other purposes. Those other users may be inconvenienced or even deterred by the probable increase in numbers of dogs running off the lead on a designated beach.

On balance, therefore, government is not proposing to change the rules at this time.

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