Dog owners want praise
Dog owners could be rewarded for good behaviour rather than punished for bad, if Porirua City Council adopts a public suggestion made during its ‘‘pooper scooper bylaw’’ review.
Councillors voted last Thursday to retain a 2006 bylaw which requires dog owners to display plastic bags or pooper scoopers while walking their dogs. The bylaw was due for its fiveyear review and garnered 51 public submissions between November 2011 and January this year.
Eighty- eight per cent were in favour of the bylaw, but a fifth of those said they opposed having to display scoops or bags while walking their dogs. Of the 12 submitters who opposed the bylaw, two-thirds said their reason was the requirement to display bags.
Unless owners are made to display their scoops or bags, the council has no way to identify pet owners who don’t pick up dog poo, the council argued in a document prepared by policy analyst Nick Law.
‘‘The rationale was that an owner without a pooper-scooper is very unlikely to clean up after their dog,’’ Mr Law wrote.
In her oral submission to council on February 9, Alison Nicol asked councillors whether dog rangers couldn’t identify people who do pick up after their dogs and reward them for their efforts.
‘‘Council could write them and congratulate them and give them a small reduction on their dog registration fee,’’ she said.
Sarah Piper of Whitby echoed the sentiment in her submission: ‘‘Dog owners would perhaps like a bit more positivity in their ownership of dogs under the Porirua City Council, and not just more rules and regulations we have to follow or risk fines or impounding.’’
Council officers will consider Ms Nichol’s idea when the council’s dog control policy comes up for review later this year, the council’s general manager of environment and regulatory services David Rolfe says.
Three-quarters of submitters said Porirua has a problem with dog poo, but many doubted the bylaw would make a difference.
‘‘Not everyone obeys the bylaw. The same people probably have unregistered dogs. Is it a socioeconomic thing or are there areas in the city where people just don’t give a stuff?’’ Ross Mainland of Whitby wrote.
Rangers need to start issuing fines to offenders, several submitters said.
‘‘I think we’ve passed the publicity/public education stage of policing this problem and we should be punishing offenders,’’ THJ Knight of Papakowhai wrote.
The council has not penalised anybody for failing to display a scoop or bag since the bylaw was introduced, despite being able to fine offenders for $500.
Fiesta time: A vibrant atmosphere is promised at St Theresa’s Salsa Carnival this Saturday. Stepping out are, from left, Hannah Fitzsimons, Johanna Scott-rodriguez, Aidan Dodds, Ella Ward, principal Zita Smith and Hayden Livesey.