The purpose of the Dog Policy is to:
- make sure dog owners meet their obligations under the Dog Control Act 1996
- make sure dogs are well cared for and Wellingtonians are able to enjoy owning dogs
- prevent dogs causing any danger to the public, wildlife and natural habitats
- actively promote responsible ownership of dogs
- provide for the reasonable exercise and recreational needs of dogs and their owners.
The Council's Dog Policy 2016 recognises that the majority of dog owners in Wellington are responsible and that most interaction between dogs and the public is positive.
The policy aims to achieve a balance between the control of dogs and recognition of the health benefits of dog ownership. It also outlines where dogs may be exercised on- and off-leash in Wellington.
The Wellington Consolidated Bylaw 2008: Part 2 - Animals gives legal powers to enforce the Dog Policy 2016 and determines requirements for keeping dogs in a way that:
- protects the public from nuisance
- maintains and promotes public health and safety
- safeguards the welfare of animals.
All the relevant bylaws are detailed in the policy, including the following:
- Dog owners shall prevent their dogs from becoming a nuisance, injurious or hazardous to the health, property or safety of any member of the public. An animal control officer may issue a notice stating conditions that must be met to ensure the nuisance is avoided.
- Owners must restrict diseased dogs or dogs on heat from being in any public place.
- Dog owners shall remove their dog's faeces from any public place or property and must not allow their dog's faeces to cause a nuisance to neighbouring properties
- Written permission is required to keep more than three dogs on a property.
Under Section 54 of the Dog Control Act 1996, owners must ensure their dog receives proper care and attention. This means adequate food, water, shelter and exercise.
Failure to comply is an offence with a jail term of three months or a fine of $5,000.