A fenced off area at the far end of the city’s long stretch of sandy beach has been fenced off specifically to allow our four-legged friends the freedom to run over the sand and leap through the waves.
Measuring just 1,250 square meters the area has been equipped with state-of-the-art dog urinals, fountains for dogs to drink from, and specially adapted showers to rinse off the salty seawater and sand off canine coats.
Opened this week, it will be available until September 25th under a pilot scheme that could be extended next summer.
“This space was chosen with specific technical criteria months ago, when we decided to respond to the historic requests by dog owners,” said Eva Herrero, the Ecology Commissioner for Barcelona.
The zone, located at the furthest end of the 4.5km long Levant beach, is limited to one hundred dogs and owners are expected to keep control of their pets and scoop up after them.
But the pilot scheme was not popular with some locals who complain that there are insufficient resources to ensure dogs are kept under control and will not venture onto other parts of the beach or bother bathers.
Others claimed the designated zone was clearly not enough to cater for a city that has at least 41,000 dogs registered although animal charities admitted that it was “a start”.
“It’s not a very big space,” said Anna Bayle the Barcelona spokesman for Pacma, Spain’s animal rights party. “The few dogs allowed in will be somewhat confined”.
Most beaches impose strict restrictions against dogs and impose hefty fines and only a very few allow dogs in the summer months. A new interactive map helps owners locate dog-friendly beaches.