A GROUP of dog owners say they will fight any plans by Instow Parish Council to restrict access to the beach for their pets.
The group is headed by environmental campaigner Joanne Bell, from Fremington. Members would be prepared to break the law if rules banning dogs from the Quay end of the beach during the summer season be introduced.
The council is holding a public meeting tonight to discuss the idea and will ask the public how it should clean the beach.
The council received several complaints during 2012 about the standard of cleaning on the beach.
Councillor Peter Cook, who cleaned the beach, has recently resigned citing personal reasons.
He remains the council's self-employed beach cleaning contractor for the current financial year.
The council is looking into the possibility of barring dogs from part of the beach but Mrs Bell claimed it was trying to keep the meeting quiet.
Parish clerk Roger Jacob said: "There's been a notice on the parish notice board since the start of the week and it's been on the parish website.
"We've passed on details to all local organisations and handed out flyers."
Beach owner Christie Estates is also aware of the meeting.
Dog owner Jeremy Bell said he and other dog owners would carry out a mass trespass if the rules were introduced.
He said: "There would be easily 500 dog owners here.
"Dogs are free range. They need somewhere to meet other dogs, run around and communicate. Dogs love it. To keep them on a lead or in a small area would be cruel."
In a statement the council said: "The parish council has no intention of banning dogs from all parts of the beach.
"The council is looking for a solution that will allow everyone to enjoy the beach facility all year round, including dog owners.
"This, the council believes, can be achieved by introducing a zoning policy, which will allow dogs on some part of the beach at any time, much as occurs on many beaches in the rest of the country."
Anyone unable to attend tonight's meeting in All Saints Community Centre at 7pm tonight can drop in from 4pm to let the council know their views.