Fur flies over Hutt dog park by lit­tle drib­blers

Kapi-Mana News - - OUT & ABOUT - NI­CHOLAS BOY­ACK

A ju­nior soc­cer pro­moter is pre­dict­ing may­hem if a pro­posed dog park in Pe­tone gets the green light.

The fenced-off park on McE­wan Park is sup­ported by a group rep­re­sent­ing small dog own­ers who reg­u­larly use the park. Dogs will not be al­lowed to run free freely in the fenced park, with the coun­cil em­pha­sis­ing it will be for train­ing and so­cial­is­ing dogs.

Tony Mor­ri­son, who runs the Lit­tle Drib­blers ju­nior soc­cer pro­gramme said the Hutt City Coun­cil was ig­nor­ing ex­ist­ing users and ca­ter­ing to dog own­ers who al­ready flouted the rules.

Mor­ri­son runs four mod­ules a year at McE­wan Park for 60 to 100 young­sters. He said the park was pop­u­lar with dog own­ers and claimed many own­ers had no con­trol over their pets.

As well as dog poo on the ground, dogs reg­u­larly in­ter­rupted games and caused prob­lems.

‘‘I have a rule with Lit­tle Drib­blers that there are no dogs, but we get them knock­ing our kids over. They are just out of con­trol. Why would the coun­cil want to as­sist some­thing like that?’’

Com­plain­ing to own­ers made no dif­fer­ence.

‘‘Peo­ple just park and let their dogs out of the car. It runs around and pees and craps, and then they put their dog on a lead.’’

Mor­ri­son be­lieved there were al­ready enough ar­eas for dogs in the city with­out the coun­cil giving them use of a sports ground.

Ex­ist­ing users, in­clud­ing rugby league and ta­ble ten­nis, had not been con­sulted, he said.

Reg­u­la­tory ser­vices man­ager Geoff Stu­art re­jected the claim the coun­cil had not con­sulted park users.

As well as gen­eral in­for­ma­tion in lo­cal pa­pers, it was on the coun­cil’s web­site and dis- trib­uted in a flyer drop. Park users had also been con­tacted di­rectly and Stu­art said the mayor was well aware of their con­cerns.

‘‘A dog park will al­ways be a bal­ance be­tween the en­joy­ment of dogs and their own­ers, and the rest of our com­mu­nity. We have lis­tened to our com­mu­nity dur­ing the con­sul­ta­tion and we are keen...to get the best out­come.’’

A coun­cil hear­ing on the pro­posed dog park heard from rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Tenths Trust, which also strongly op­posed the idea.

Putting a fenced dog park near the ju­nior foot­ball grounds is ig­nor­ing users, a foot­ball or­gan­iser says.

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