A lack of signs warning dog owners their pets are not allowed on the beach has been slammed – both by unwitting walkers slapped with fines and residents who want pooch-free pebbles.
A number of dog walkers have been fined by environmental enforcement officers despite protests that the signage is inadequate.
And in Hove, residents say most of the signs which were up last year haven’t been put up again this year – leading to lots of dogs on the beach which shouldn’t be there.
One dog owner who was fined is Adam Myall, who visited with his dog Baxter from their home in Surrey on May 1.
He said there were no signs at all on the route he took to the beach by the artist’s quarter, and they had only walked 10m onto the shingle before they were approached and given a fine.
He said: “I understand there are rules and they need to be implemented. But I just didn’t know because there’s no clear signage. I live in Surrey and went there for an afternoon.
“They could have just said you are not allowed on there and we would have left. It was really unsettling and it ruined the day out.”
Sadly, just a few days later Baxter unexpected died of an undiagnosed heart condition, so Adam’s final day out with him is of being issued the £80 fine.
Other dog walkers say that Brighton and Hove City Council’s officers were waiting for dog owners near the Volks Aquarium Station and fining them – but on a stretch of the beach with unclear signing.
It’s also not clear from the council website where the zone starts, as the zone marked out on the map starts at a different point to the description underneath.
In Hove, David Vincent, who lives off King’s Esplanade, said: “There is one small sign up. Normally the seafront office puts up a lot more.
“We have spoke with them and their office but they have still not put up any and all we get is excuses.
“Meanwhile, we have so many dogs on the beach here all the time, pooping and their owners are not cleaning it up.
“There used to be permanent signs up but these got ripped of in storms. Then from May to September they put up large white signs, which also warned about bbqs.”
However, a council spokesman said the signage this year is the same as before, and advised people to check the website for details of where the dog free beaches are.
He said: “Our signage relating to dog free beaches is the same this year as in previous years.
“Our lifeguards start work for the season on 27 May. They are able to put temporary signs on the beaches they patrol on the basis that they can be taken back in at the end of the day.
“Unfortunately, our experience is that leaving temporary signs out often results in them being either vandalised or removed.
“We want everyone – including dog walkers and their dogs – to be able to enjoy our seafront.
“Many residents and visitors feel uncomfortable with dogs on beaches because of possible dog mess and also when dogs are let off leads.
“Detailed information is available on our website relating to taking dogs onto our beaches.
“On a number of beaches outside the city centre there are no restrictions.
“But we would urge all dog owners to check in advance before taking their dogs on beaches, particularly outside the winter months.”
The city’s environmental enforcement officers have previously come under fire for pursuing what some say are soft targets, such as smokers discarding cigarette butts or sole traders putting cardboard from home businesses in residential recycling bins.