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Dogs get more access to open space

Dogs get more access to open space

Auckland City’s manager compliance monitoring has increased the number of areas in which dogs can be exercised off leash. The number rises from 81 to 122, with no change to areas currently designated for off-leash exercise.

Under section 12.2.6 of its dog control bylaw, Auckland City Council delegates authority to designate dog exercise areas to its manager compliance monitoring, Barry Smedts. The council’s Works Committee will receive the manager’s report at its meeting on Wednesday, 19 November.

The report is the result of an in-depth review of the city’s dog exercise areas, which included six months’ extensive consultation with community boards and the public. During this time, more than 1500 public submissions were received.

“In designating dog exercise areas, a city-wide approach was adopted to ensure consistency, while at the same time taking into account local needs for free running areas, and balancing this with the needs of the non-dog-owning population,” says Mr Smedts.

There are some 840 parks and reserves in Auckland city. Dog owners and their dogs are a significant group of park users. According to a 2001 AC Nielson Panorama Survey, 14 per cent of Auckland’s households own at least one dog. Giving owners and their dogs access to 122 parks for off-leash activities equates to access to 15 per cent of our parks for such activity.

“All dogs in the city enjoying access to public open space, with the exception of areas of off-leash exercise, are required to be on a lead. However, it is very important that even in spaces designated for free running, dogs must be under the control of their owners at all times,” says Mr Smedts.

New dog off-leash exercise areas will only come into effect three months after the November meeting of the Works Committee, that is on or near to 19 February 2004. This will allow time to make and install correct signs, and the required number of disposal bins for dog droppings.

The report, listing dog exercise areas in each city ward, will be available on the Auckland City website (visit www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/council/members/committeemeetings/works), along with the agenda for the November meeting of the Works Committee, by Monday 17 November.

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