Should dogs swim in Minnamurra River?

A proposal from Kiama councillor Warren Steel that would allow dogs to swim in the Minnamurra River will be further investigated by Kiama Council.

Kiama councillors last week voted to seek comment from the council's Companions Animals Committee, Minnamurra River Estuary Management Committee and relevant agencies on the possibility of permitting dogs on leashes to swim in the Minnamurra River.

Cr Steel said he knew not everyone would agree with the idea but he believed dogs should be allowed to swim with their owners in certain areas.

He found support for his proposal from councillors Neil Reilly and Mark Way.

"I am not a dog owner but I see people bring dogs to water and the dogs jump in with their owners and cool down ... the dogs shake themselves off ... I think it is a terrific thing," Cr Reilly said.

"The Minnamurra River is a great asset to use and shouldn't be over-regulated."

Cr Way said in his experience, there were a lot of responsible dog owners in the Kiama Downs and Minnamurra area.

However councillor Andrew Sloan spoke "strongly" against the motion.

"I have two young children, we go there, lots of families with young kids go there at low tide; it is a fantastic place for young children to play, there are always people with young children in that water, and lots of wading bids use that estuary.

"To allow dogs in that environment without a lot more work and study is of a major concern to me and I oppose even considering it at this stage."

Mayor Brian Petschler said the proposal was for dogs to be "on leash".

"I don't think I've ever seen a dog having a swim on a leash - if we are going to have some practical rules, lets not make ourselves a laughing stock by saying you can have a dog swim on a leash.

"People are going to throw a ball, throw a stick or let the dogs go, it may not be the responsible owners Cr Way knows.

"The Minnamurra River is a high tourist destination and I think this is a dangerous thing."

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