Animal decisions by Environment Committee

4 August 2016

Wellington City Council’s Environment Committee meeting today made a series of recommendations on rule changes affecting cats, dogs, roosters, pigeons, bees and other animals in the city.

The committee’s decisions will be subject to confirmation at a meeting of the full Council on 17 August. 

 The committee considered amendments to the Wellington Consolidated Bylaw 2008 Part 2: Animals. It also considered recommendations from a review of the Council’s Dog Policy over the past year. An Animal Policy will be developed to provide the public with more information. 

 Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the proposed changes strike a balance that recognises both the importance of people’s relationships with their pets and that there are real impacts from uncontrolled animals. 

“Protection of native wildlife is dealt with under a separate area, implemented through increased pest control funding, planting and species release at Zealandia,” she says. “The compulsory microchipping will enable cats to be more rapidly reunited with their loving owners.” 

The committee’s Chair, Councillor Iona Pannett, says the bylaw and rules are part of an intent to protect animals – to enhance their welfare and to stress that people have responsibilities in this regard. 

The Committee also recommended some changes to the areas where dogs are allowed and be off-leash. These changes to some parks and dog exercise areas aim to reduce conflict between dogs and other park users whilst allowing dog owners to exercise their pets. 

 For the Animal Bylaw, the committee recommended: 

Cats 

  • An 18-month transition period is also proposed so that owners have time to ensure that their cat meets the requirements, and to allow for the development of the Animals Policy.
  • All domestic cats over the age of 12 weeks in Wellington City be microchipped and registered with New Zealand Companion Animal Register, or other Council-approved microchip register. 
  • Raising with the Government the need for national guidance and regulation on the role of territorial authorities in the management of domestic and stray cats. 
  • Work with the SPCA, vets, and other cat welfare agencies to use non-regulatory options to promote the de-sexing of cats. 
  • Look at using education and other non-regulatory options to encourage responsible cat ownership. 
  • To further address the issues of ownership of multiple cats and cats in wildlife sensitive areas through the Animal Policy and education. 
  • Look at options to encourage responsible ownership of cats in wildlife sensitive areas as part of the development of an Animals Policy. 

Other animals

  • Ban roosters from urban areas unless you have permission. 
  • Require Council permission to keep more than eight chickens or other poultry birds on a typical urban property. 
  • Ban the feeding of animals (including pigeons and stray and feral cats) except dogs in public places, unless in a designated area such as a duck pond. 

Dog Policy

  • Increasing access time for Wellington City’s 10,700 dogs to parks and beaches where there are summer restrictions in place, to better reflect the times when they are used by the wider public. 
  • Easing restrictions on dogs in the CBD, and allow dog owners to stop with their dogs as long as they are not left unattended. 
  • Prohibiting dogs from being left unattended. 
  • Clarifying that the Council can impose a $300 fine on owners who fail to pick up and properly dispose of dog poo. 
  • All dog owners who apply for Responsible Dog Owner status must have completed dog obedience training by a recognised training school. 
  • Council look at options to increased enforcement and education to encourage positive and safe interaction between dogs and the public. 
  • Request that staff discuss with Greater Wellington Regional Council whether it would be possible for them to investigate the possibility of allowing dogs on public transport.

Recommendations on dog exercise areas

  • Allow dogs to be off-leash on Oriental Bay Beach from 1 April – 30 October. Oriental Bay Beach will continue to be prohibited the rest of the year. 
  • Continue to prohibit dogs on Freyberg and Scorching Bay beaches. 
  • Dogs are allowed in Waitangi Park, on the Wellington waterfront, if they are on-lead. 
  • Making a portion of Island Bay Beach an off-leash area. 
  • No changes are to be made to dog exercise areas in Ngaio, but further consultation will take place with the community. Changes may be made in the future to reflect that feedback. 
  • Investigate the cost and feasibility of the installation of dog-poo bag dispensers, rubbish bins and other facilities in fenced dog exercise areas. 
  • Look at finding suitable options for dog off-leash tracks. 
  • Work with the SPCA to assess the possibility of improving the dog exercise area next to its premises on the Town Belt on Mt Victoria. 
  • Retaining off-leash status for old Mitchelltown School site, Liardet and Balfour Street corner site and Kaiwharawhara Park. 
  • Dogs on leads are explicitly permitted to be walked along the path from Moa point to Breaker Bay through Palmer Head and Tarakena Bay.