Late mother’s fall sparks call for dog sig­nage


Ju­lia Jas­mine never got to give Porirua City Coun­cil an­other rark-up over what she felt was a lack of dog con­trol signs.

The 66-year-old who had os­teo­poro­sis, a dis­ease that left her bones brit­tle, died from pneu­mo­nia on De­cem­ber 23.

She had been try­ing to re­cover from a bro­ken knee and other in­juries suf­fered in Au­gust when an off-lead dog ran from its owner and onto a beach in Plim­mer­ton, knock­ing her over.

Her daugh­ter, Clarissa Barsanti, spoke to a coun­cil An­nual Plan sub­mis­sions meet­ing this week, de­mand­ing more be done to en­force dog con­trol laws.

‘‘No-one should have to go through what my mum went through. The area where the man had his dog off-lead was not a des­ig­nated dog ex­er­cise area, it was a public foot­path ... an on-lead sign may have helped re­mind him of his re­spon­si­bil­ity, and thus pre­vent my mum’s in­jury.’’

As a gen­eral rule, dogs must be on-lead in public places in Porirua, un­less there is a sign mak­ing an ex­cep­tion.

Barsanti be­lieved the cheap­est way for the coun­cil to en­force the law was with sig­nage for dogs to be on leads.

She es­ti­mated it would cost up to $45,000 to in­stall an ex­tra 300-odd signs around the city, which could help peo­ple, in­clud­ing those with ill­nesses or allergies, or even dogs that needed to be pro­tected.

Her mum was cau­tious. She avoided walk­ing her own dog, an Aus­tralian sheep­dog called Miss Mor­gan, around oth­ers as much as pos­si­ble, some­times hid­ing be­hind trees if one came too close, and wore home­made padded leg­pro­tec­tors.

‘‘So she tried to find places she felt safe. But those places be­came smaller and smaller, to the point where I thought some­thing’s got to be done, this is just not fair.’’

She made a sub­mis­sion to last year’s an­nual plan with help from her mum. But was frus­trated af­ter be­ing later told she had to re­sub­mit the re­quests for fund­ing in a long-term plan.

Coun­cil gen­eral man­ager of pol­icy, plan­ning and reg­u­la­tory ser­vices James Jef­fer­son said the pol­icy was to put signs for ex­cep­tions, such as ar­eas where dogs were pro­hib­ited, or where they could be ex­er­cised off-lead, ‘‘to avoid a pro­lif­er­a­tion of sig­nage which can be­come coun­ter­pro­duc­tive’’.

‘‘We ac­knowl­edge the very real con­cerns Clarissa has about the dog sig­nage is­sue and recog­nise the amount of time she has put into her sub­mis­sion.’’

But it would wait un­til a


What does the coun­cil do if some­one com­plains about a dog off lead in an on-lead area? DUR­ING WORKINGHOURS:

An­i­mal con­trol of­fi­cers re­spond to these calls as quickly as pos­si­ble.

If the dog is with an owner, they will be ad­vised of the need to keep their dog on-lead in off-lead ar­eas.

If the dog is roam­ing un­ac­com­pa­nied the of­fi­cer will try to cap­ture it so it can be taken back to the pound where it will be iden­ti­fied and linked with an owner where pos­si­ble.

The owner will have to pay pound fees be­fore the dog is re­leased to them. The coun­cil may also is­sue the owner with an in­fringe­ment fine if they have a his­tory of let­ting their dog roam. OUT­SIDE WORKINGHOURS:

An­i­mal con­trol of­fi­cers will re­spond to re­ports of a roam­ing dog if an an­i­mal or per­son has been rushed at or set upon; the dog has been con­tained; they are re­quested to at­tend by po­lice. re­view process of its dog con­trol pol­icy and by­law, which goes out for public con­sul­ta­tion next month, was com­plete be­fore tack­ling sig­nage.

The coun­cil gets about 22 com­plaints a week about roam­ing dogs.


Ju­lia Jas­mine loved walk­ing her dog, Miss Mor­gan.

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