About 8,500 dogs are registered in Wellington City - about 8 percent of the city's households have dogs.
The Council adopted the Dog Control Policy in 2004 and agreed to review it in 2009. The policy focuses on ensuring public health and safety, animal welfare, the recreational needs of dogs and their owners and responsible dog ownership.
Proposed changes to the policy include:
- an increase in off-leash dog exercise areas
- improved access for dogs and their owners to the waterfront through the central business district
- a proposal for destination dog parks
- a requirement for dog owners to carry a dog poo receptacle.
The paper suggests five new dog exercise areas (Chelmsford Reserve in Ngaio, Vice Regal North and Alexandra Road West in Newtown, Owhiro Bay and Te Kopahou (Red Rocks). It also proposes to make Island Bay, Worser Bay and Seatoun beaches off-leash dog exercise areas between midnight and 9.00am.
The draft paper also recommends improving access to the waterfront through the central business district for dogs on a leash and that funding for a 'destination' dog park be considered in the 2010/11 annual plan. Destination dog parks are areas with agility equipment which allow socialisation and training opportunities for dogs. Another proposal recommends that dog owners be required to carry a dog poo receptacle when they are walking their dogs. This is expected to reduce the amount of dog poo left lying around the city.
The Council's Associate Social Portfolio Leader, Cr Iona Pannett, says the current policy is working well but there is a need to strike a balance between its regulation and control aspects with the needs of dogs and their owners.
"This new policy aims to encourage good ownership practices and is a response to the concerns of dog owners about the way that the Council meets their needs."
"The Council is keen to hear from owners and non-owners whether we have got the balance right."
Council officers have considered an epetition signed by 106 people requesting that Karori Cemetery be an off-leash exercise area, but advise against this in the draft paper as there is nowhere for dogs to be off the leash away from graves. They recommend the cemetery continue to be used for dogs on a leash.
Consultation on the Dog Control Policy starts on 26 June.