Pooches need poo bags

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Dog poo bins at Long Bay. Photo/File
Dog poo bins at Long Bay. Photo/File

Changes to where dogs must be on a leash in the Western Bay of Plenty and a requirement to always carry a means of picking up dog poo are up for consulation.

Public feedback opens today on Western Bay of Plenty District Council's Draft Dog Control Policy and Bylaw and residents are encouraged to have their say on proposed changes.

The draft policy and bylaw were adopted by the council on April 7 and launched at the Western Bay's Big Dog Walk at Te Puna Quarry Park at the weekend.

More than 50 dogs and their owners took part in the walk, led by the council's "spokesdog" Alfie, before talking to staff about the review.

Group manager policy, planning and regulatory Rachael Davie said changes proposed in the policy and bylaw followed feedback from the public earlier this year.

"When we asked our communities what changes they'd like to see we had a really good response. More than 1000 people visited the Dogs of the Western Bay feedback website and hundreds came to our Doggy Day Out.

"A lot of people were in support of more dog exercise areas and felt strongly about putting leash restrictions in certain places."

The Dog Control Policy and Bylaw sets the rules and controls for the management of dogs in the district. They also placed requirements on owners to ensure negative aspects of dog behaviour were minimised and recognised the positive contribution responsible dog ownership made to the community.

Key changes being proposed include:

• People walking dogs must carry a means of picking up dog poo at all times and remove and dispose of their dog's poo in public places or land owned by someone else.

• Several changes to public place restrictions, including a 'dogs on leash' restriction in Waihi Beach, Katikati and Te Puke town centres; a prohibited area along the foreshore between Cooney's Reserve and Lynley Park, Omokoroa; and an on leash restriction along the new Omokoroa to Bethlehem Cycleway. New-look maps showing the proposed changes can be viewed on the consultation website.

• A statement of intent to develop designated dog exercise areas in the district where there is strong community support for such a facility

• Introducing a range of minimum standards to improve the welfare of dogs

• All dogs classified as menacing must be neutered within one month of classification

• All dogs impounded or infringed for roaming three times within any 12 month period must be neutered within one month

The Dogs of the Western Bay website includes new-look maps of the proposed public place restrictions and a Q&A forum.

There are currently more than 8000 dogs registered in the Western Bay District.

Consultation is open from April 13 to May 13. Have your say here or pick up a feedback form from any of the council's service centres.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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