Pembrokeshire County Council will now fine people caught walking their dogs on beaches where they are banned.

The powers to fine dog owners who flout the summer beach dog ban rules have been there before but never enforced.

At Thursday’s full council (July 18) cabinet member Cllr Pat Davies said: “We often have complaints about dogs on our beaches, the control of dogs on our beaches and the hygiene and the problem of keeping our beaches family friendly and safe.”

Dogs are banned between May 1 and September 30 at Tenby North Beach and Whitesands, St Davids with restrictions also on parts of Lydstep, Newgale, Saundersfoot, Tenby Castle and South Beach, Amroth, Poppit Sands, Broad Haven North and Dale.

The by-laws also ban dogs off leads on the ‘promenade’ at Newgale, Saundersfoot and Amroth.

A fixed penalty notice (FPN) of £75 can now be issued for a dog, other than Guide Dogs, in the restricted areas.

A report said the move is  “consistent with similar public protection offences such as littering and dog fouling”, with the amount possible to charge ranging form £50 to £150. 

Cllr Joshua Beynon called for all assistance dogs to be exempt and was told that District Enforcement – the company that carries out enforcement – would be told to allow that but the official by-law was so old it only referred to ‘dogs assisting blind people.’

The FPNs will be issued by District Enforcement officers and the county’s dog warden, council was told, but no additional officers would be employed.

Questions were raised about the adequacy of signage and ensuring people are not “caught out” unawares.

Cllr Jon Harvey asked if warnings could be given first in case people “through no fault of their own have let their dog paddle in the sea without realising.”

Councillors voted in favour of the FPN enforcement of the dog ban.