by Greta Yeoman
The time for doggie paddles at the beach is almost over, with the summer dog ban at Caroline Bay starting on Monday.
The annual ban, which runs from October 1 to March 31 each year, prohibits dogs from the beach during summer.
However, a Timaru District Council spokesman reminded dog owners the Timaru Dog Park in Leckie St was open all year round.
Other dog-friendly areas included Ashbury Park, Marchwiel Park, the Scenic Reserve and Waimataitai and Otipua beaches.
Dogs are also banned from Pleasant Point camping grounds from Labour Weekend until Easter.
The council spokesman also expressed his thanks to responsible dog owners who had picked up after their pooches on the bay and also kept their dogs away from the penguin-friendly areas at both ends of the beach.
Timaru Penguins representative Peter Bennett said they had spotted a few dog paw-prints in the sand inside the roped-off penguin areas in recent weeks.
“The problem does exist with some dog owners.”
Penguins had been nesting at the bay for about six weeks, he said.
However, the group was also working towards installing new signs and possibly vegetation barriers at the penguin-friendly areas by next autumn.
The summer ban comes in seven months after a council proposal to allow dogs on Caroline Bay during summer mornings was voted down.
The proposal, which was opposed by several South Canterbury environmental organisations and other residents concerned about the nesting penguins, would have allowed dogs on the bay beach between 5am and 9am over summer.