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Dog Ban: An Affront To Responsible Dog Owners

Tahuna Torea Dog Ban: An Affront To Responsible Dog Owners

“The decision by the Auckland City Council last night to endorse the recommendations of the Hearings Panel and ban all dogs from Tahuna Torea Reserve is a victory for the anti-dog lobby and is grossly unfair to responsible dog owners.” says Dog Owners Group (D.O.G.) President, Dr Cathy Casey.

“Dogs have been totally banned from Tahuna Torea because a three-person Hearings Panel decided that it should be the first dog-free coastal reserve in Auckland. I would suggest that many of the people who put that opinion to the Panel are not users of the Reserve but people who have a negative view of dogs and dog owners.”

“The Panel said that it would be too hard to police an “on-leash” rule – but all Dog Exercise Areas are “hard to police” in the sense that the dog control officer has to do foot patrol if he or she is to actually find dog owners infringing the dog bylaw.”

On behalf of its 650 members, the Dog Owners Group made an extensive submission to the Panel asking for Tahuna Torea to retain its “on leash” status. Dr Casey said the decision of the Council is disappointing and will mean that many families will now avoid Tahuna Torea as a place to have a family outing.

“The family dog is part of the family and usually goes where the family goes. Now that Auckland City has told dog owners they are not welcome at Tahuna Torea, many families who may have enjoyed an afternoon at the reserve will stop going there.”

She says that several of the volunteer rangers at Tahuna Torea have dogs:

“The message the Council is giving to them is that their voluntary hard graft is welcome but please leave your dog at home.”

The Dog Owners Group is calling for the Council to carry out a survey of park usage in future before making any binding decision on parks and reserves:

“If that had been done at Tahuna Torea, the Council would have found out that dog owners are the heaviest users of this reserve. Banning them means that the reserve has lost responsible people who act as the eyes and ears of the park and give a sense of safety and security to other park users like walkers and joggers.”

Dr Casey said that the second recommendation of the Committee to the Council meeting on 22 September that it “not consider any further amendments to the dog policy or dog bylaw until after 1 September 2007” infringed the public’s democratic rights and was voted down.

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