Councillors at today's Strategy and Policy meeting agreed to consult Wellington City residents on a number of changes to the Council's Dog Policy and Animals Bylaw.
The proposed changes will go out for public consultation on 26 June and include:
- a requirement for dog owners to carry a dog poo receptacle and dispose of their dog's poo
- five new 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 to feed animals (ducks and birds) in a way that avoids causing a public nuisance
- a requirement for Council permission to keep more than six chickens or a rooster in urban areas.
The proposal for dog owners to carry a receptacle when they are walking their dogs is expected to reduce the amount of dog poo left lying around the city. Councillors also voted to prohibit dogs from the grassed area of Waitangi Park.
The Council's Associate Social Portfolio Leader, Councillor Iona Pannett, says the changes balance the regulation and control aspects of the policy with the needs of dogs and their owners.
"We need to remember that dogs are important members of many families but dog owners also need to be responsible by picking up their dog's poo and exercising them in the appropriate places. The Council needs to balance the rights of all residents in the city."
The recommended new off-leash dog exercise areas are Chelmsford Reserve in Ngaio, Vice Regal North and Alexandra Road West on the town belt near Newtown, Owhiro Bay and Te Kopahou (Red Rocks). It is also proposed to make Island Bay (from the pier to the eastern end of the beach in front of the surf club), Worser Bay and Seatoun beaches off-leash dog exercise areas between 12 midnight and 9.00am.
Councillors also want to see funding for a 'destination' dog park considered in the 2010/11 annual plan. Destination dog parks are areas with agility equipment which allow socialisation and training opportunities for dogs.
Councillors agreed to keep Karori Cemetery as an exercise area for dogs on a lead only as there is nowhere for dogs to be off the leash away from graves.
The proposed changes to the Animals Bylaw will help ensure that feeding large numbers of animals and keeping poultry does not become a public nuisance. There have been a number of instances in the past few years where residents have fed birds, which has resulted in a health and safety issue due to them gathering on the road and pooping on residential or public property including, in one case, a children's playground.
About 8,500 dogs are registered in Wellington City - about eight percent of the city's households have dogs.
Public feedback from the consultation will be reported back to Councillors in October.