'Become dog friendly or start looking for another job'
MOOLOOLABA'S dog lovers are revolting - and they don't care who knows.
In fact, they're wearing their revolutionary tag as a badge of honour as they fight to overturn a council decision to ban their pooches from Mooloolaba Beach.
More than 100 dog lovers turned out for a protest march this morning, walking from The Spit to Mooloolaba and back again.
Pure-breds rubbed shoulders with mongrels.
Short-haired and long-haired put their differences aside for the cause.
Young and old found common ground.
And the 50 or so dogs they brought with them were well behaved too.
It was a well organised, peaceful rally with barely a bark in anger but the message to councillors was spelt out in the speeches and the placards they carried - "become dog friendly or start looking for another job".
The rally was in response to council banning dogs from the popular beach, limiting them to being walked on nearby pathways and parks which are also popular with cyclists, joggers and walkers.
It's not just the ban, but the "quiet way" council went about it that has put many moist noses out of joint.
Rally organiser Tim Haight was delighted by the turn-out both today and in the days since he announced the event.
"We've had a lot of people offering support and thoughts and advice," he said.
"Everybody's got something to lose.
"If somebody from this area wants to take their dog on the beaches now, they have to go to Kawana."
He said local councillor John Connolly had been supportive but was outnumbered within council.
"We're hoping this opens their eyes and ears.
"This issue is about the dogs but it's also about the way the law was brought into effect.
"It wasn't with consultation of the people and, as you can see here, everybody's upset about it."
That included Sharon Alleway of Mooloolaba, who recently lost her dog after walking it on the beach for 14 years.
"Walking on the beach is really good exercise for them," she said
"Their alternatives will now be the walkways where they have to share it with people on bikes and skateboads ... it just doesn't work."
Keri Gazzard of Minyama was part of a lengthy campaign to keep La Balsa Park open to dogs and said dog owners couldn't afford to lose this battle.
"We just need a dog-friendly council," she said.
"Way too many of our councillors hate dogs - believe they have no place in our community and should be kept behind gates.
"John Connolly said before the election he would be happy to support dogs and he's been great but he's the new kid on the block (in council) and he said it's been very difficult because he's fighting a watershed in council of people who don't like dogs.
"If we lose this, then they'll think they can take anything off us without a fight.
"So we can't afford to lose."
Before the walk began, Mr Haight told protestors the battle was only just beginning.
"If they think that we're going to do this once and then go away, they're wrong," he said.