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Dog dispute rethink for Wellington council

Jul 18th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest News, News

WELLINGTON City Council is rethinking rule enforcement at Karori park after recent complaints about dogs being let off the leash.

It follows recent letters published in the Dominion Post highlighting the problem of dog owners not cleaning up mess and letting them run free on the sports field.

The letters to the Dominion Post editor also reported incidents of runners being “bowled down” by dogs off their leashes.

Jim Jones wrote: “The only blights on this utopian place are irresponsible dog owners who let their animals off the lead and allow them to run amok.”

Council spokesman Richard McLean says the council is aware that this is a problem and receives frequent complaints on the matter.

“One of our senior staff met late last week with one of the complainants. As a result we will look at more enforcement activity in the park,” says Mr MacLean

There are signs around the park but the council says it will look at putting up more obvious ones at the entrances.

The 2009 dog policy says dogs are allowed in the grounds but must be on the leash.

However, there is a designated dog exercise area beyond the northern boundary of the park where dogs can run free.

These rules are shown on the council website along with maps of areas available for dogs to use.

Simon Spring a dog owner from Karori who regularly uses the park says he hasn’t had any bad experiences himself, however he says owner discretion is needed.  

“If the owner has the dog under control they should be allowed [off the leash], but not on the playing field.”

Other park users, like long term Karori resident Tom Wotherspoon opposes dogs roaming free.

“It’s not so bad for small dogs, but aggressive dogs can be disconcerting for joggers and mothers with small children.

“But if you make a rule for one group it should be obeyed by all,” says Mr Wotherspoon.

“I used to do lots of running at dusk, and suddenly quite aggressive dogs would appear,” says Mr Wotherspoon. 

One runner Anthony Thyne has even taken the precautionary measure of buying a portable light to wear on his morning runs so dogs and owners can see him.

“Occasionally dogs are running off the leash and I don’t see them until they are very close to me and avoiding an angry dog at that stage would almost be impossible,” says Mr Thyne.
When it comes to the dispute of whether dogs should be banned, both dog and non-dog owners agree that it is not the answer.

However the council can never rule anything like that out says Mr MacLean.

“But we would prefer that dog owners show more responsibility and recognise that the whole of Karori Park is not an off-leash playground or toilet for their dogs,” he says.

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