City dog laws on one leash

By Bernard Orsman


Jill Parsons can now walk her golden retrievers Amber and Rani on the beach at the same time, whether near her home at Whangaparaoa or on a North Shore beach.


It's been a nuisance having two different restriction times at beaches on the Hibiscus Coast, and three weeks of the year more to walk her dogs on local beaches than on the North Shore.


But thanks to a new dog bylaw endorsed by the Auckland Council yesterday, dog owners like Mrs Parsons will have a standard summer season and hours to walk their dogs.


However, the council's 21 local boards will have some flexibility with the regional policy and be able to determine on- and off-leash and prohibited areas for parks and beaches in their areas.


"I'm really thrilled. Just about every dog owner will be thrilled with it [the new policy]. The council has done a wonderful job," said Mrs Parsons, who is president of the Hibiscus Coast Dog Training club.


The dog bylaw has taken the council more than a year to complete, during which time there was an angry backlash against a rise in dog registration fees that forced a backdown.


The draft dog bylaw attracted more than 10,000 submissions covering 156,000 points from the canine community. Panel chairwoman Councillor Noelene Raffills said there was a clear desire for regional consistency and local decision-making on local access issues.


"The approach we have taken recognises the benefits of a single way of thinking and, where appropriate, regionwide rules.


"But we also recognised that one approach to local parks and beaches was never going to meet the needs of dog owners or the wider community and that our local boards can contribute in a way that is more responsive, consistent and transparent," Mrs Raffills said.


Under the bylaw, which comes into effect in July next year, the council has adopted a standard time and season, restricting dogs on beaches from 10am to 5pm between Saturday of Labour Weekend and March 1.


The standard time and season applies to beaches at regional parks but not to the Hauraki Gulf islands.


New dog rules


*Summer beach season - Labour Weekend to March 1.


*Restricted beach hours - 10am to 5pm.


*On and off leash/prohibited areas determined locally.


*Changes come into effect in July next year.

- THE AUCKLANDER

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