At­tacks spur new rules at gar­dens

Central Leader - - NEWS -

If you’re a dog owner you prob­a­bly know about the huge off-leash area at the Auck­land Botanic Gar­dens.

Jock Hobbs isn’t an­ti­dog, he just wants people to feel safe there.

But the gar­dens man­ager is ex­pect­ing his pro­posal of shrink­ing the off-leash area at the park to hack­les.

He put for­ward the plan at the Fe­bru­ary meet­ing of the Ma­nurewa Lo­cal Board.

The idea fol­lows six dog at­tacks for­mally recorded at the gar­dens in the past year.

One was on a child, who sus­tained se­vere fa­cial in­juries, and one was on a mem­ber of staff.

Other at­tacks have been re­ported but not for­mally recorded.

‘‘That kind of thing is just not ac­cept­able,’’ Mr Hobbs says.

‘‘People need to feel that when they come to the Botanic Gar­dens, it’s safe.’’

Mr Hobbs wants to see the off-leash area at the Ever­glade Drive end of the gar­dens re­duced to about half its cur­rent size.

The area would be bor­dered by the South­ern Mo­tor­way in the west, ac­cess to the palms collection in the south and a small stream, run­ning from the Lower Lake, to the east.

Friends of the Auck­land Botanic Gar­dens pres­i­dent Bill Bur­rill says the stream would pro­vide a ‘‘clear de­mar­ca­tion’’ be­tween the on and off-leash ar­eas.

‘‘There are only so

raise

a

few many signs you can put up and so forth. This way there’s no ar­gu­ment.’’

On-leash rules would re­main the same and dogs would still have ac­cess to the rest of the park while on a lead.

The Ma­nurewa Lo­cal Board voted 4-3 to send Mr Hobbs’ rec­om­men­da­tion to Auck­land Coun­cil’s parks, sports and re­cre­ation com­mit­tee.

That del­e­ga­tion is re­view­ing the rules sur­round­ing dog ac­cess in the gar­dens.

People will be able to make sub­mis­sions when the com­mit­tee de­lib­er­ates the is­sue later in the year.

Coun­cil­lor Calum Pen­rose says dog­walk­ing by­laws were the most con­tentious in the coun­cil’s first term.

Pho­tos: ANNA LOREN

Pooch pains: Auck­land Botanic Gar­dens man­ager Jack Hobbs knows shrink­ing the off-leash area won’t please ev­ery­one.

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