Dog Control Policy and Bylaw 2021

Submissions closed on February 26, 2021, 05:00 PM

Dog on beach

Whanganui District Council is seeking feedback on the review of the Dog Control Policy and Bylaw.

Whanganui District Council is required to adopt a policy on dogs and must make a bylaw to give effect to the policy.

In reviewing its policy and bylaw, the council has adopted a wellbeing-focused approach to positively managing dogs within the district. This approach will prioritise safe interactions between dogs and people and increase owners’ capability to foster the positive aspects of dog ownership and reduce nuisance.

Proposed changes

The council is proposes the following changes be made to the dog control policy and bylaw:

  • That dog owners are required to pass a written test of dog ownership knowledge in order to qualify as a responsible dog owner for the first time
  • Increase dog access on Castlecliff Beach and Mowhanau Beach by allowing:
    • Under control off a leash access – from the southern bluff of Mowhanau Beach to north of the northern end of lower Rangiora Street carpark at all times
    • Under control on a leash access – South of the northern end of the lower Rangiora Street carpark at all times
  • Require dogs to be under control on a leash on all walkways, cycleways and shared paths (excluding places dogs are prohibited such as premier parks and lakes)
  • Formalising the council's existing policy on rehoming dogs
  • Other minor amendments including:
    • Redrafting of the policy to improve clarity and ease of use
    • Redrafting the bylaw to follow the Parliamentary Counsel Office Drafting Manual and remove inconsistencies with the policy
    • Increase the probationary period for probationary owners from 12 months to up to 24 months
    • Formalise the existing access rules on Peat Park and Williams Domain to allow under control on a leash access

Options


A – Responsible Dog Owner

Option 1

Amend the “Responsible Dog Owner” criteria to include a requirement to pass a written test on dog ownership knowledge (Preferred).

Under this option the council would require an owner to pass a written test on dog ownership in order to qualify as a first time “Responsible Dog Owner.”

Advantages
  • Dog owner education is a key contributor to good dog ownership and can prevent or reduces nuisance related to dogs along with the associated enforcement resource.
Disadvantages
  • Additional time commitment required by owners to undertake test and associated education to undertake the written test.

Option 2

Retain the existing “Responsible Dog Owner” criteria (Status Quo).

Under this option the council would retain the existing “Responsible Dog Owner” criteria.

Advantages
  • No additional time commitment required by owners to undertake test and associated education to undertake the written test
  • Dog owners understand existing “Responsible Dog Owner” criteria to qualify for the reduction in fees
Disadvantages
  • Dog owner education is a key contributor to good dog ownership and can prevent or reduces nuisance related to dogs along with the associated enforcement resource

B – Dog Access

Option 1

Amended (Preferred)

Beach access
Location Rules
Mowhanau Beach – North of Kai Iwi Stream Under control off a leash
Mowhanau Beach – South of Kai Iwi Stream to bluff at southern end of Mowhanau Beach Under control on a leash
Between Mowhanau Beach and Castlecliff Beach Under control off a leash
Castlecliff Beach – North of northern end of the lower Rangiora Street car park Under control off a leash
Castlecliff Beach – In front of the lower Rangiora Street car park Under control on a leash
Castlecliff Beach – South of southern end of the lower Rangiora Street car park to North Mole Under control on a leash
South Beach Under control off a leash
Assessment of options
Promote safe interaction between dogs and people using public places and private ways to ensure that dogs do not injure, endanger, intimidate or otherwise cause distress to any person – particularly, children and vulnerable adults
Taken in combination with premier parks and lakes where dog access is prohibited
Integrate owners and their dogs with other users of public places where practical ✓✓
Manage the impact of dogs on protected wildlife, stock, poultry, domestic animals, property and natural habitat
In combination with the temporary dog access rules.
Recognise owners as legitimate users of public places and dog access as desirable for dog welfare ✓✓
Ensure that areas with different dog access rules have clearly visible boundaries, which may be achieved through transition zones, vegetation, topography and fencing ✓✓

Option 2

Status Quo

Beach access
Location Rules
Mowhanau Beach – North of Kai Iwi Stream Under control off a leash
Mowhanau Beach – South of Kai Iwi Stream to bluff at southern end of Mowhanau Beach Under control on a leash
Between Mowhanau Beach and Castlecliff Beach Under control on a leash – Exact extents are indeterminate
Castlecliff Beach – North of northern end of the lower Rangiora Street car park Time and Season
1 November to 1 April – Under control on a leash
Other Times
Under control off a leash
Castlecliff Beach – In front of the lower Rangiora Street car park ‌Prohibited
Castlecliff Beach – South of southern end of the lower Rangiora Street car park to moles Time and Season
1 November to 1 April – Under control on a leash
Other Times
Under control off a leash
South Beach Under control off a leash
Assessment of options
Promote safe interaction between dogs and people using public places and private ways to ensure that dogs do not injure, endanger, intimidate or otherwise cause distress to any person – particularly, children and vulnerable adults ✓✓
Integrate owners and their dogs with other users of public places where practical ×
Manage the impact of dogs on protected wildlife, stock, poultry, domestic animals, property and natural habitat
In combination with the temporary dog access rules
Recognise owners as legitimate users of public places and dog access as desirable for dog welfare
Ensure that areas with different dog access rules have clearly visible boundaries, which may be achieved through transition zones, vegetation, topography and fencing ××

C – Public walkways, Cycleways and Shared Paths

Option 1

Under control on a leash on all walkways, cycleways and shared paths (excluding places dogs are prohibited such as premier parks and lakes). (Preferred)

Promote safe interaction between dogs and people using public places and private ways to ensure that dogs do not injure, endanger, intimidate or otherwise cause distress to any person – particularly, children and vulnerable adults ✓✓
Integrate owners and their dogs with other users of public places where practical
Manage the impact of dogs on protected wildlife, stock, poultry, domestic animals, property and natural habitat _
Recognise owners as legitimate users of public places and dog access as desirable for dog welfare
Ensure that areas with different dog access rules have clearly visible boundaries, which may be achieved through transition zones, vegetation, topography and fencing ✓✓

Option 2

 Maintain the Existing Dog Access Rules (Status Quo)

The existing dog access rules on public walkways, cycleways and shared paths are variable with most being under control on a leash while parts are under control off a leash (including Somme Parade between Dublin Street Bridge and PS Waimarie Jetty and Mountains to Sea Ngā Ara Tūhono Cycleway). 

Promote safe interaction between dogs and people using public places and private ways to ensure that dogs do not injure, endanger, intimidate or otherwise cause distress to any person – particularly children and vulnerable adults ×
Integrate owners and their dogs with other users of public places where practical
Manage the impact of dogs on protected wildlife, stock, poultry, domestic animals, property and natural habitat _
Recognise owners as legitimate users of public places and dog access as desirable for dog welfare
Ensure that areas with different dog access rules have clearly visible boundaries, which may be achieved through transition zones, vegetation, topography and fencing ×

D – Formalising the council's existing policy on rehoming dogs

Option 1

‌Formalise the council’s existing policy on the re-homing of dogs (Preferred)

Under this option, the council would formalise its existing policy on the re-homing of dogs.

Advantages
  • The proposed policy incorporates current organisational best practice and professional officer judgment
  • Provides certainty about the council’s approach to re-homing of a dog which can be an emotive issue
Disadvantages
  • Less flexibility on a case-by-case basis for the re-homing of individual dogs

Option 2

No formal council policy on the re-homing of dogs (Status Quo).

Under this option the council would continue to have no formal policy on dog re-homing and would rely on organisational best practice and professional judgement to determine whether or not a dog is suitable for re-homing on a case by case basis.

Advantages
  • Organisational best practice and professional officer judgment are effective methods of managing the re-homing of dogs
  • Ability for greater flexibility on a case-by-case basis for the re-homing of individual dogs
Disadvantages
  • Does not provide certainty about the council’s approach to re-homing of dog, which can be an emotive issue

Photo by Hiu Yan Chelsia Choi on Unsplash