‘Dra­co­nian’ dog con­trols rile res­i­dents

The Bay Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BAY­LEY MOOR

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.

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