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Improved beach access for dogs under new policy

Improved beach access for dogs under new policy

Auckland City has adopted changes to the dog policy reviewed at tonight’s council meeting. The policy, which reviews access to beaches, comes into effect on 1 September 2004.

During the consultative process, Auckland City received 342 written and 26 verbal submissions to the draft policy. Submissions were received from eight of the nine community boards, the DOG group, the Tamaki Estuary Protection Society, the Auckland Regional Council and individuals.

The Chairperson of the City Development Committee, Councillor Juliet Yates, says the council has attempted to meet the requests of the majority of submitters.

“The council has endeavoured to meet all reasonable requests when considering the submissions. We have sought a happy medium between dog owners and the general public,” she says.

“Of particular concern is the protection of children in public places. We stress that dogs should be on a lead in all public areas, and in particular where children play. The public should have no fear of attack or intimidation.”

The Dog Control Act 2003 required Auckland City to review its dog policy by 1 September 2004. Under the Act the council has 60 days to make the necessary bylaws to give effect to the new policy.

Auckland City’s dog policy changes state: dogs will have access to Auckland City beaches off a leash after 4pm and before 10am between Easter and Labour weekend, winter hours dogs will have on-leash access to beaches after 7.00pm and before 9.00am from Saturday Labour weekend through to Easter Monday, summer hours. The exception is Mission Bay beach where dogs will have access before 9am and after 9pm during the summer months Auckland City will assist dog owners and the public by promoting dog obedience classes Auckland City will review the size and availability of off-leash dog exercise areas every three years.

In 2005, Auckland City and its community boards will also review dog access to water areas in places of low public usage, with a view to including them as dog exercise areas. These areas include – the set of access steps on Tamaki Drive between Mechanics Bay and the western end of St Heliers beach the waters edge between the boundaries of Tahuna Torea reserve and Wai-O-taki Nature reserve / Ferndale reserve Whakatakataka Bay (Ngapipi Rd, Hobson Bay) any suitable areas bordering Manukau Harbour.

Ecologically sensitive areas will be further identified with signage warning dog owners of the need to prevent their dogs from disturbing wildlife, and the penalties for failing to do so. Tahuna Torea Nature Reserve now prohibits dogs from exercising off-leash.

During the 2003/2004 registration year, Auckland City has received and actioned 8,906 complaints – a 23% decrease from the previous registration year.

There were also 130 fewer dog bites reported than for the previous 12 months. Over half the infringements issued were for unregistered dogs.

The new bylaw and can be viewed in all community libraries, Auckland City Library and on Auckland city’s website www.aucklandcity.govt.nz from 1 September.

The policy will be reviewed every three years.

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