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Aussies divided over photo highlighting 'selfish' beach rule

A beachgoer's social media post of a ranger overseeing a popular Sydney beach has sparked heated debate.

A beachgoer's social media post warning dog owners to "run" after rangers were seen patrolling a popular Sydney beach has sparked a scathing response online.

The popular Cabbage Tree Bay, which sits between Manly and Shelly Beach, is the perfect sand-free, rocky shore for people to sunbake and swim off. However, a bitter debate has been roaring over the last 24 hours over whether dogs should allowed to be there too — with hundreds weighing in on the matter.

On Sunday, a swimmer posted a photo in a local Facebook group of a ranger "out chasing the fur babies at Shelly", sharing a photo of the exact location.

Two images. Left photo taken at Cabbage Tree Bay, Manly of ranger standing at the edge of the rocks at the beach looking for dogs. Right is of two people swimming in ocean water next to rocks while their dog looks at them, standing on the rocks.
A photo of a ranger posted to a local Facebook group has ignited a debate on whether dogs should be allowed on beaches. Source: Supplied/Getty

Fury over dogs at beaches

The warning quickly sparked a heated debate among Manly residents, with many commenters believing that dogs shouldn't be allowed anywhere near beaches due to their cleanliness, or lack thereof.

"It's not just about dog poop, people go down the beach to relax and don't necessarily wants dogs running up to them licking them, sniffing them, getting into any food brought down or worst case scenario, being bit," one person responded, with many agreeing.

"There are reasons that dogs are not allowed on the beaches. I love dogs, however unlike some I do realise that they are not people! They are not entitled to be in certain places for obvious reasons," another said.

'Selfish dog haters'

On the other hand, several locals said they couldn't believe anyone would want to exclude our four-legged friends, with some people going so far as to compare it to allowing kids on beaches.

"I don't like kids yelling, crying and playing near me. Are there spaces or fines for noisy kids?! I wonder how people would feel about a no kids allowed beach!" someone wrote, with numerous others sharing their support for the sentiment.

General view of Shelly Beach in Manly.
The Northern Beaches Council confirmed dogs are allowed there but they must be on a leash. Source: Sipa USA/AAP

"There are two dozen ocean beaches in the northern beaches and none are dog friendly due to selfish dog haters. Campaign for more access and people will take them when ocean beach options open up," another frustrated person commented.

Speaking with Yahoo News Australia, Jake from The Bower cafe, located right on the shoreline, said staff have always seen dogs off-leash in the spot pictured in the image.

Dog rules: Not a simple answer for beachgoers

As well as a fiery discussion, the social media post prompted confusion over who actually manages the area.

Cabbage Tree Bay is a protected Aquatic Reserve managed by NSW's Department of Primary Industries (DPI) but they only have jurisdiction over some of the area — up to where the average high tide mark is — and the Northern Beaches Council manage the rest.

Northern Beaches Council told Yahoo News Australia that both the rock platform and beach form part of Marine Parade Road reserve, which is not considered part of the Aquatic Reserve. This means dogs are allowed there but they must be on a leash.

"A lot of the people who go there know that and have their dog on the leash," a council spokesperson said.

As soon as a dog or person goes into the water, they're in the Aquatic Reserve, which is managed by the DPI, who confirmed to Yahoo dogs are not prohibited.

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