Second national dog beach opens on June 15

Viana do Castelo is becoming the second council in Portugal to open a beach for the holiday season where four-legged friends are welcomed, instead of ‘shunned for the duration’.

Due to be inaugurated in an early evening ceremony on Thursday June 15, Coral beach will join Peniche’s Porto da Areia Norte which opened to pooches last August (click here).

The initiative is a collaborative effort between Viana do Castelo council, animal rights group Vila Animal and the local ports authority.

The idea is to use it as a “pilot project”, to see if things work without problems.

Like in Peniche, dogs taking to the sands will have to be registered, on a lead – and if among breeds considered dangerous, wearing a muzzle.

Cleanliness too is a paramount concern, with owners responsible for keeping the beach clean.

An initiative that unites animal lovers, it is not without local controversy, however.

Magazine ‘cães e companhia’ explains that environmental group Arméria is not in the least bit delighted with the plan, dubbing it a “damaging use for the beach’s environmental heritage”.

According to Arméria, Coral beach – named after the Chinese ship Coral Bulker which sunk there 17 years ago – has “relevant historical and archeological remains” which for some reason the group fears dogs may inadvertently destroy.

Another moot point is that Coral beach will remain ‘unsupervised’ – meaning families that use it in order to be with their pets will not enjoy the advantages of lifeguard cover.

[email protected]