New dog rules for the Bay

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Incentivising 'good' dog owners, improving welfare, and deciding where dogs are required to be on a leash are key issues up for discussion as dog rules in the Western Bay come under review.

Western Bay of Plenty District Council begins the review of its Dog Control Policy and Bylaw today, titled 'Dogs of the Western Bay'.

Residents are encouraged to have their say on what changes they'd like to see by visiting the online discussion forum open from January 20 to February 29.

People can also speak to staff and elected members in person at the Katikati and Te Puke A and P shows, and at Council's upcoming Doggy Day Out in Omokoroa on March 5.

Key issues identified for the review include: assisting with the disposal of dog poo in public places; improving welfare standards; creating off-leash exercise areas; public place restrictions; neutering 'menacing' dogs; and incentivising good dog owners.

Council's Acting Group Manager Policy Planning and Regulatory Services, Chris Watt, said these are the main issues that have emerged over recent years through discussions with dog owners and non-dog owners in the district.

"With more than 8000 registered dogs in the Western Bay, these issues are often at the forefront of discussions with residents.

"As the District's population - and subsequently the number of dogs - grows it's important we get these areas right. On the website we're asking a series of questions related to these issues so we hope people will tell us what they think."

Key questions include:

Should Council provide incentives for 'good' dog owners?

Where should dogs be required to be on a leash, and do we need to simplify current restrictions?

Could Council do more to help you better deal with dog poo?

Should Council do more to help dogs living in inadequate conditions, and how?

Should Council make it a legal requirement for dogs classified as menacing or caught roaming repeatedly to be neutered?

Mr Watt said this was the first stage of the review. Feedback gathered from the community will help shape the proposed changes in the draft policy and bylaw.

"Once a draft policy and bylaw has been adopted we will go out to our communities for feedback on the proposed options."

The Dog Control Policy details the control and management of dogs in the District, while the Bylaw enables Council to enforce the policy.

Western Bay Council's Dog Control Policy and Bylaw was last reviewed in 2011.

To have your say visit haveyoursay.westernbay.govt.nz/dogs-of-the-western-bay

- Bay of Plenty Times

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