By TOBY WALKER
THE safety of people using Yamba's Pippi Beach has come into question after the Clarence Valley Council received dozens of complaints about packs of dogs menacing dog owners and their pets.
One Yamba resident was compelled to write to The Daily Examiner about the problem, declaring she had stopped taking her dog to the beach because she feared an attack at the hands of the rogue animals.
Dog attacks are not unheard of on Pippi Beach.
According to council rangers, a woman was seriously mauled by a dog there about three years ago.
The concerned dog owner, who did not wish to be named, believed it was only a matter of time until another person was attacked.
"If that's the council's leash-free area and we're to afraid to go there, where does that leave us?," she said.
"? how many times do the dogs from the sand dunes along Pippi Beach have to attack people before something can be done ? it seems to be a disaster waiting to happen."
Council ranger Neville Frost blamed the proliferation of the problem dogs on illegal backyard breeding.
Mr Frost said in the last two years he had impounded 22 cross-bred dogs from the area and found the problem was only getting worse.
Following complaints, he had asked permission from members of the Pippi Beach Aboriginal community to confiscate a number of those dogs from near their homes.
But while some beach users claimed the threatening dogs came mainly from the grounds of the Aboriginal community, Mr Frost said the illegal breeding problem was not isolated to the Pippi Beach area.
The Examiner yesterday made several unsuccessful attempts to contact Aboriginal elders in Yamba for comment.
Mr Frost said council rangers in the Lower River area had been overwhelmed by the number of dogs they were finding abandoned on Yamba's streets or being handed in by owners who didn't want them.
"There are owners out there who don't vet their dogs, don't get them immunised or registered," he said.
"They don't do anything but breed them and then either sell them or give them away.
"So indiscriminately we're getting more through the system because people are not taking the care that they're required to."
The problem was made worse, he said, because many of the the illegally cross-bred dogs were naturally aggressive and would have to be destroyed because they could not be re-housed.