‘Draconian’ dog controls rile residents
Significant changes to the Far North District Council’s draft dog control bylaw and policy have riled dog owners throughout the Bay of Islands.
The latest draft which will be presented to the Bay of IslandsWhangaroa Community Board on August 14, proposed the removal of all off-leash exercise areas in Russell and a limit on one dog (over three-months-old) per household for Russell (previously two adult dogs) and coastal areas including Te Tii, the Purerua Peninsula, Totara North and Matauri Bay.
Working dogs are exempt from the household restrictions.
A previous draft included a part of Long Beach in Russell to be used as an off-leash area for dogs and two dogs per household. Following concerns raised by Bay of Islands dog owners, the council revisited the draft, and made changes from the documents in July.
Waipapa dog owner Jan Graham says she is disappointed in the lack of consultation.
‘‘When there are major changes to the original statement of proposal then it is their [the council’s] obligation to open up for community feedback. The community should be involved in each process.’’
Graham moved to Kerikeri six months ago and says she was discouraged to find so few off leash areas for dogs.
The council-provided dog exercise area at Wiroa Rd - one of only two places in Kerikeri - is hard to find and has no signage. The paddock sometimes has cattle in it, she says.
Dog owner and environmentalist Tony Dunlop, says he couldn’t see the existing rules - which allowed for off-leash access to some beaches at certain times - for Russell being a problem.
Dunlop lives in Russell for the majority of the year, and is on the national board for the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society and the Northern New Zealand Seabird Trust. He owns one dog.
Black and white thinking around dog rules is very unhelp- ful, he says.
‘‘The problem isn’t responsible dog owners. Cats, rats, stoats and possums are far more of a problem for wildlife.
‘‘There should be clear education around what’s appropriate and what isn’t - rules created and those enforced. That would be a much better solution.’’
‘‘The problem isn't responsible dog owners. Cats, rats, stoats and possums are far more of a problem for wildlife.’’
Tony Dunlop Jan Graham, pictured with Pearl, is calling for more centrally located dog parks.