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What is the Dog Control Policy and Bylaw?
Council has a Dog Control Policy that sets out its approach to the control and management of dogs in the Western Bay District. We also have a bylaw that allows the policy to be enforced, e.g. issue fines.
We are legally required to have both the policy and bylaw under the Dog Control Act 1996.
In more detail, the Dog Control Policy:
Sets the rules for dogs in public places, by identifying public places dogs are prohibited – either generally or at specific times of the year, and identifying where dogs must be on a leash.
Identifies any places that are designated as dog exercise areas
Includes other details relating to dogs and dog owners, such as fees, owner education, dog obedience courses, issuing of infringement notices, disqualification of owners, dog classification (e.g. menacing breeds), etc.
Outlines Council’s approach to dog control, e.g. how it intends to balance public safety with the recreational needs of dogs and their owners
Details how Council approaches certain options within the Act, such as whether Council requires menacing dogs to be neutered and the rules around this; or whether probationary owners are required to attend dog owner education programmes, etc.
The Dog Control Bylaw allows Council to enforce the policy.
It determines thing such as:
What action should be taken in respect of nuisance behaviour such as problem barking?
Fines and infringements
Why are we reviewing the bylaw/policy now?
The Dog Control Policy and Bylaw was last reviewed in 2011. We want to make sure our bylaw and policy are up to date, aligned with community views, and fit for purpose for a district with a growing population (both people and dogs!). We always planned to review the policy in 2016. The Dog Control Act requires the policy and bylaw must be reviewed simultaneously.
What are the key changes proposed?
Summary of proposed changes
The main changes proposed in the draft Dog Control Policy and Bylaw 2016 are:
Welfare: Introducing a range of minimum standards to improve the welfare of dogs. This provides clearer mandate for our Animal Control Officers to act when dogs are kept in poor conditions.
Dog poo: Introducing a requirement for people walking dogs to carry a means of picking up dog faeces at all times and remove and dispose of dog faeces produced by their dog in public places, or any land not their own. This is intended to reinforce owner responsibility.
Designated dog exercise areas: A statement of intent that Council intends to develop designated dog exercise areas in the District where there is strong community support for such a facility. Council will consult with communities where a designated dog exercise area is proposed, in order to determine the best location, type of equipment/facilities, and funding.
Temporary exemptions from public place restrictions: Allow the Chief Executive to grant an exemption from public place restrictions for a temporary event involving dogs.
Menacing breeds: Addition of the ‘Perro de Presa Canario’ as a breed Council must classify as menacing, to give effect to amendments made to the Dog Control Act 1996.
Mandatory neutering of menacing dogs: Requiring all dogs classified as menacing to be neutered within one month of classification. This includes dogs classified as menacing in another district that move to the Western Bay. An exemption can be made where a vet provides a statement declaring that it would be detrimental to the dog’s health for it to be neutered. Dogs previously classified as menacing will be given 12 months to comply.
Mandatory neutering of repeat roamers: Requiring all dogs impounded or infringed for roaming three times within any 12 month period to be neutered within one month.
Education for probationary owners: Council will require probationary owners to complete a dog education programme and/or dog obedience course at the owner’s expense.
Changes to public place restrictions: A number of changes are proposed. You can see more detailed descriptions and maps showing what is proposed at this website:
Removing the TECT Park dogs on leash restriction for the area operating as a designated dog exercise area. The ‘dogs on leash’ restriction continues to apply for the remainder of the park.
Introducing a ‘dogs on leash’ restriction in Te Puke, Katikati and Waihi Beach town centres, to reduce the likelihood of nuisance or conflict between pedestrians and dogs not under control.
Introducing a ‘dogs on leash’ restriction on the new Omokoroa to Bethlehem cycleway, to reduce the likelihood of conflict between cyclists and dogs not under control.
Introducing a prohibited area in the foreshore between Cooney’s Reserve and Lynley Park, in recognition of this area as a significant habitat for nesting birds, such as godwits, dotterel and banded rail. Dogs on leash may pass through this area on leash when using the Omokoroa to Bethlehem cycleway.
We have included new look maps that are easier to read, and reflect the changes proposed to public place restrictions outlined above.
How can I have my say?
1) Draft Bylaw
The draft policy and bylaw reflect community views received this far. We want to hear from you as to whether we have got it right with the specific proposals we're making. Feedback is welcome between 13 April and 13 May, 2016.
2) Have Your Say Sessions
As well as written/online feedback, we will give you the opportunity to attend round table discussions (during the week commencing 13 June) so you can speak with Elected Members. To attend you need to give written/online feedback and opt in on the feedback form to attend a Have Your Say session.
What if I have a question?
You can ask us a question on the Q&A Forum on the website. Alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0800 WBOPDC.
What does the review process involve?
Stage 1) Pre-engagement
The first step was to ask the community for feedback on what should be in the Dog Control Policy and Bylaw. We focussed on six key themes; dog fouling, exercise areas, incentivising good owners, public place restrictions, neutering and welfare. In developing the draft policy and bylaw Council considered feedback received online and at our Doggy Day Out and Te Puke/Katikati A&P shows.
Stage 2) Draft Policy and Bylaw
A draft policy and bylaw has been adopted. We are now seeking feedback from our communities on the proposed options/changes.
Stage 3) Adoption
Council will review formal feedback and finalise the policy. This will likely be in the July-August period.
What are we hoping to get from you at this stage of the review?
We want your feedback on whether we have got it right in our proposed policy and bylaw. You can do this by filling out a feedback form.
Who do we want to hear from?
Everyone! This review is not just for dog owners. People who don’t own dogs are still very much affected. For example, you may use a park or reserve and have a view about what the dog restrictions should be; or have a general interest in animal welfare.