Dog own­ers want praise

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

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.

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