DOG walkers are calling for fishermen to be banned from a stretch of beach after a dog almost died and another was seriously hurt when they swallowed fish hooks left on the ground.
Dawn Scott, 49, was walking her dog Darcy on Eastney beach when she noticed a fishing weight hanging from her paw, and tackle going into her mouth.
‘I screamed because I was horrified at what I saw,’ said Dawn, of Eastney.
‘Two ladies were walking by and I said “please help me” and they came over.
‘They kindly took turns to carry Darcy and we had to walk a mile back to the car.’
Now she plans to set up a petition calling for Portsmouth City Council council to ban fishermen from the naturist side of the beach, where dog owners are allowed to walk their animals.
She added: ‘If things don’t improve I’m going to set up a petition to have everything to the left on the beach just for dog walkers and no fishing.
‘This section is the only space all the year round we can use, I want no fishing there.
‘What they leave behind can kill and maim, not just animals – people can get the tackle in their tackle in the naturist part.’
Her call for action has been echoed by Maggie Sawkins, whose miniature schnauzer Millie underwent surgery just a day after Darcy was injured after swallowing a hook left on the ground at Southsea beach.
Instead of a ban, Maggie said the council could fine fishermen.
She said: ‘The council could introduce fines for people leaving fishing tackle on the beach.
‘Last year there was a very visible poster campaign in Portsmouth threatening dog owners with fines for not clearing away dog poo.
‘I believe the council should also have a similar awareness raising campaign about littering along the seafront.’
Both owners had to fork out for expensive bills – with Millie’s insurance paying out £1,000 while Dawn managed to raise £3,000 from generous donations.
Specialists had to remove the hook from 11-month-old Darcy’s oesophagus.
Colas maintains the beaches for the city council.
Operations manager Ray Muscat said: ‘Despite our best efforts fishing hooks can be hidden under stones and the wire is difficult to spot, so it’s important the public are responsible.
‘We are looking into the idea of signage on the beach encouraging people to be vigilant and dispose of their rubbish.’