DOG'S LIFE:  Dog walkers Jennie Dell with Emmylou and Lynn Banks want to continue to use the the oval adjacent to Trinity sports fields, Lismore, to walk their dogs.
DOG'S LIFE: Dog walkers Jennie Dell with Emmylou and Lynn Banks want to continue to use the the oval adjacent to Trinity sports fields, Lismore, to walk their dogs. Melissa Gulbin

Dog owners afraid of losing only safe space in city

A GROUP of Lismore dog owners believe their unofficial 'dog park' wedged between Rugby Road and the Wilsons River, is under threat.

For at least 30 years, the parcel of land opposite the vacant Lismore Palms Caravan Park, next to the St Carthage's sport fields, has been used as an off-leash dog area.

However, Lismore dog owner Lynn Banks, believes the long-standing dog-friendly space is under threat after she was told to move on.

Ms Banks said the on Thursday morning a man told her to take her dogs, Daisy and Georgie, and go home. According to Ms Banks, he had insurance and health and safety concerns with dogs using the space

"He said land was owned by the Lismore Catholic Diocese," said Ms Banks.

Lismore City Council confirmed the land was privately owned. Lismore Dioceses however, could not confirm if they owned the space at the time of print.

"The existing dog parks in Lismore aren't really practical. Whoever designed them hasn't go a dog," said Ms Banks.

The designated park under Ballina Bridge by the river is inadequate. It's too small and there is no place for the dogs to run," she said.

"The new one, opened by Council near the gasworks has a cliff drop," she said.

"Elizabeth Gardens is very isolated and not a very safe place. There are beer bottles everywhere. Recently I felt endangered by a man. It's too deserted. If something happened no one would see or hear you.

"But here is the perfect spot," Ms Banks she said.

Ms Banks said recently their 'dog park' had been painted with field lines.

Ms Dell, who has been using the park regularly for 30 years, said, "There is an official dog training club that meets here once a week. People have been walking their dogs here for generations. It is safe and the wonderful thing for dogs. They can socialise and be socialised and the owners get to socialise as well."

Ms Banks added, "When I first got Georgie I was in the backyard and he was really lonely so I went down here at 5.30pm and there were about 25 people. It was the loveliest, most supportive, friendly group. I come here every morning at 6.30am. And we all meet and chat and the dogs frolic and run.

Instinctively dogs are pack animals. WE can't lose this space.



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