News | 10 April 2024
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Council leads the way so dogs can have a ball

Wellington City Council’s Kōrau Mātinitini | Social, Cultural, and Economic Committee adopted the proposed Animal Bylaw, Domestic Animal and Dog Policy today.  

Two dogs sitting with tongues hanging out at a park.

There’ll be more spaces for dogs to exercise and socialise in Wellington, including the smaller end of Oriental Bay Beach during the warmer months – but due to popular demand, Island Bay keeps its status quo.


Key changes adopted include:


  • New requirements for owners to carry the means to pick up after their dog in response to growing public demand for increased enforcement regarding dog fouling.
  • Stick with status quo on Island Bay Beach where dogs are allowed off-leash at all times in the area from the pier to the western end of the beach.
  • Expand off-leash access in the CBD by allowing dogs to take a splash on the righthand side of the Band Rotunda in Oriental Bay during off-peak hours in the warmer months. Dogs remain prohibited from the longer section of the beach and Freyberg Beach for people wanting a dog-free experience.
  • Expand off-leash provision across nine suburbs in Wellington.
  • Make it more accessible for renters and apartment dwellers to receive a discount of their dog registration fee under the updated Accredited Dog Owner scheme.
  • Maintain on-leash status at Spicer Forest as it undergoes native regeneration and on-going efforts to reintroduce kiwi to the area.
  • Require the mandatory desexing of cats, which supports Predator Free initiatives and the efforts of local rescues to reduce the stray cat population.
  • Introduce a cap of four beehives in residential areas without the need for written permission from the Council.

Since the last review of the Dog Policy in 2016, Wellington’s registered dog numbers have grown almost 40 percent, with about 16,000 dogs now in the capital.


A 2023 survey and recent consultation shows while domestic animals are welcome in our city, good behaviour from them and their owners is a key message from the public says Committee Chair, Councillor Teri O’Neill.


“This consultation process had one of the biggest response rates we’ve ever seen, so the adoption of these recommendations really reflects the priorities of a large proportion of the Wellington public.


“As a compact and growing city, this policy strikes the right balance between the health and welfare of pets, the safety and comfort of non-pet owners, and also reduces the impact on our native wildlife and natural environment.”

A proposal to swap around the ‘off-leash’ and ‘prohibited’ areas at Island Bay Beach met with significant opposition from local residents (87%), citing the current off-leash area as a vital ‘community asset’.

While many supported the intention to protect the dunes, many disagreed with the proposed solution.

The adopted recommendation is to maintain the status quo and explore alternative interventions like improved signage and education campaigns to achieve desired ecological outcomes without restricting dogs, says Deputy Mayor Laurie Foon.

“We will work closely with officers, volunteers, environmental groups and the community to ensure the dunes are well-maintained, monitored, and their value better understood by everyone.

“We will also explore how we can further restore and protect dunes through the development of the Coastal Reserves Management Plan.”

Find the full list of recommendations, minutes and the dog policy from today's meeting here.