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Council goes to the public over dogs

June 15, 2004

Council goes to the public over dogs

The North Shore City Council wants public comment on its dog control rules after changing them to reflect recent law changes, and to achieve greater consistency across the Auckland region.

The council's works and environment committee last week (June 11) decided to put out its amended draft dog control policy and bylaw for public consultation on June 17 to July 19.

The new draft policy and bylaw features a number of changes, and also seeks public input on questions like: between which hours of the day may a dog be exercised off its leash on the city's beaches. There are also suggestions about other areas where owners might be able to unleash their dog for exercise.

North Shore City's works and environment committee chairperson, Joel Cayford, says most parks or reserves, as in the past, are still open for dog owners to exercise their dog off leash.

A suggested change to this is the introduction of a number of wildlife areas of special interest where dogs are required to be kept on a leash.

They include: * Pukeatua Bush, O'Brien Rd, Paremoremo * Oteha Bush, Bush Rd, Albany * Hellyers Bush, Upper Harbour Dr * Eskdale Bush scenic reserve * Kaipatiki Escarpment * Birkenhead Domain * Smiths Bush - Northcote Rd, Takapuna * Oruamo Headland - from the southern end Island Bay along the coast to Chelsea Bay, and including the hinterland with Island Bay reserves, Kauri Park, Kauri Point Domain, Kauri Point Centennial Park, Chatswood Reserve and the Chelsea Estate.

On the flipside to these changes is the proposed introduction of the beach at the bottom of Kennedy Park and Rahui beaches as areas where dog owners can exercise their dog off leash, 24 hours a day throughout the year.

Under the proposal dogs will be prohibited from any beach and foreshore from 9.00am to 7.00pm during the period of daylight saving. This is a slight change from the existing policy where they were prohibited during the same hours from Labour Weekend to end of daylight saving. Submission forms include other options to assess public sentiment.

"We would like feedback on whether these hours are still considered appropriate.

"The council is seeking input from all interested parties on its draft dog policy and bylaw.

"Whether you like dogs or not, it is important the public expresses its opinion on these questions. Dogs may be man's best friend, but they can also frighten people, and so they need to be managed appropriately and predictably in public places," Councillor Cayford says.

The Dog Control Amendment Act 2003, which came into force last December, requires councils to review their dog control policies and bylaws by this September.

An Auckland regional dog policy group developed the new policy template to be applied across the region. The group was made up of officers from the seven Auckland local authorities, the Auckland Regional Council and the Department of Conservation.

Registered dog owners will be sent the draft dog control policy and, along with other interested parties, will have one month to make their views known to the council.

The current North Shore City dog control policy and bylaw was adopted in 1997.

Under the Local Government Act 2002 the council is obliged to consult the public on matters of significance such as new bylaws.

Information regarding the draft dog control bylaw and policy, including a draft copy of both and submission forms, will be made available at www.northshorecity.govt.nz, environmental services office -521 Lake Rd, Takapuna, all council area offices and libraries or by calling Actionline on 486 8600.

"We encourage all residents and ratepayers to take this opportunity to provide us with feedback on our draft dog control bylaw and policy," Joel Cayford says.

ENDS

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