Final changes to dog policy discussed

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Final changes to the well-debated issue of dog control in the Waitaki district was discussed at a recent meeting of the Waitaki District Council customer services committee.

Eighty-one submissions were received on the Draft Waitaki Dog Control Policy and Bylaw 2014 when it went out for public consultation in July and councillors have recently held a workshop to discuss proposed changes.

As a result, a number of recommendations were presented to members of the customer services committee which included the walking of dogs in the Oamaru CBD.

Cr Hugh Perkins disagreed with the recommendation prohibiting dogs on-lead in commercial areas of the CBD from 7pm-8am, saying that owners were looking for a well-lit area to walk their dogs in the evening.

He said he would like to see dogs permitted on a lead in commercial areas for a trial period of one year.

“A one-year trial period would work without going through the bylaw process.

“I urge you to consider allowing people to do what they’re probably already doing, and that is walking their dogs in the CBD.”

The issue of whether dog owners would clean up after their dogs was raised and Cr Melanie Tavendale suggested that unless dog owners were caught in the act of not carrying bags and cleaning up after their dogs, council had few powers to do anything about it.

The motion from Cr Perkins allowing dogs on-lead in the evenings in the CBD for a trial period was lost, and the status quo which totally prohibits dogs in the CBD has gone forward for final approval.

Three other changes to be finalised at the full council meeting on September 17 include no dogs allowed on sports fields, the addition of new dog exercise areas and dogs are now allowed in council reserves on-lead as long as they are more than 10 metres from a playground.

By LINDA MCCARTHY