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Community divided over rule at tourist hotspot: ‘She threatened to kill me’

There are laws protecting the stance by Byron Bay locals over dogs at the beach, but not everyone agrees.

Australian locals who have reported an increased level of dog attacks on native Aussie wildlife say they're fed-up with "entitled" pet owners acting irresponsibly.

While dog access on the sand at beaches is a contentious issue in general, with a number of spots around the country recently either banning the animals or proposing restrictions, many in the Byron Bay area claim pet owners are brazenly ignoring the rules.

One local said she was deeply troubled after finding that a dog had killed a wallaby on Sunrise Beach just days ago. It's the latest, she claimed, in a string of recent incidents in the area.

Locals furious over dogs attacking wildlife

"Another dead wallaby on Sunrise Beach found by my friend Steve yesterday," the woman began in a lengthy post. "It had been killed by dogs. A while back, Steve rescued a wallaby being mauled by two dogs. The dogs ran back to their owner who was sitting in his van.

"How can we protect our wildlife from dog attacks?"

A dead wallaby is seen being held by a Byron Bay local.
Just days ago a wallaby was mauled and killed by a dog on Sunrise Beach, near Byron Bay. Source: Facebook.

She went on to explain that after burying the wallaby, she "saw two people with a dog on the beach" — an area that prohibits pets.

"I asked them 'did they not see the signs?', I didn’t even say what sign I meant. He replied ‘oh, I just want to give my dog a wash’," she said.

"Last Saturday on this same beach," the woman claimed in the distance she could see flocks of birds taking off. "I realised there was a little dog chasing them," she said. The dog and owner went along the fenced off/protected zone.

"Flocks of birds kept taking off in their path. I ran to them to tell the owner it was a dog-free beach. She threatened to kill me with a stick as her dog was a companion dog and part of nature... We need to call out dogs on the beach. Take a photo and call the ranger."

Byron Bay residents reporting more and more attacks

The distressing post attracted almost 500 interactions, many agreeing with the woman, calling for stricter bans and harsher penalties for those caught doing the wrong thing. Though, some others pointed to education being key, rather than an altogether ban on dogs on beaches.

Blood-stained sand is seen.
Fed-up locals say more needs to be done to protect native wildlife in the Byron Bay region. Source: Facebook.

"Absolutely sick of bleeding heart dog owners that think their dogs are angels and they’re above the law. The entitlement is disgusting and the abuse from owners when you confront them is worse," a woman wrote.

"As a wildlife carer I despair at the moment," another stressed local said. "People actually don't care. I thought we'd be better after Covid, but we're worse (generally speaking).

"The entitlement, the self-obsession and the prevailing belief of 'I'm different and the rules don't apply to me' is out of control. As a child our native wildlife was an accepted and beautiful part of my world, the way we're going there'll be nothing left.

"The aggression at times when I've politely asked if someone can call their dog has been scary, and a couple of times I thought guys were actually going to punch me!"

According to the Byron Shire Council, fines ranging from between $300 and $1300 are in place for those caught acting irresponsibly with their dogs.

Yahoo News has contacted the Byron Shire Council, the NSW Department of Environment, the Office of Local Government, as well as a host of local wildlife agencies, to determine if reports of dog attacks had been officially recognised in data. At the time of publishing no responses have been received.

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