Tauranga City Council has announced a crackdown on out-of-control dogs and irresponsible owners on the Bay's beaches.
Animal services team leader Brent Lincoln said the council received many complaints from people about dogs off the leash running up to people while on the beach.
"Even though the dog may not do anything, this can still be intimidating and is not acceptable dog control," Mr Lincoln said.
Teams have already started patrolling Mount Maunganui and Papamoa beaches.
The enforcement of the current bylaws was designed to educate owners on their responsibilities and raise awareness of restricted exercise areas for dogs, he said.
While dog owners could take their pets almost anywhere in Tauranga, while under control, there were some places that were off-limits for ecological reasons or because the areas were used intensively by the public, Mr Lincoln said.
"These patrols are all about us getting out there to ask our community to do the right thing and exercise their dogs on our beaches within the rules - that is, control their dogs effectively, dispose of their droppings properly, keep them on leads when required, and keep them away from restricted areas."
Mr Lincoln said the patrols were introduced to help manage Tauranga's increasing dog population and to let dog owners know what was expected of them.
"As we all know, Tauranga is growing and with more people comes more dogs," he said.
"We want to continue to welcome dogs on our parks, reserves and some areas of our beaches.
"We're getting out there in the community to help our dog owners to do the right thing, so everyone can enjoy our beautiful open spaces."
Dogs must be leashed if they are likely to cause danger, distress or nuisance, or if walking near a public road.
Dog owners must also carry a leash at all times in case they need to secure their pet.
"Even the best-trained dog can be unpredictable at times, so owners should put their dog on a lead whenever approaching another animal or person, and then release it again when safely past," Mr Lincoln said.
The move comes on the heels of a campaign from Papamoa and Mount Maunganui councillor Steve Morris to better enforce city rules.
In March, Cr Morris said he had been approached by a number of residents over the past 18 months who objected to dogs bounding up to them on the beach and even jumping up on to their children.
"The dogs aren't being controlled properly."
Cr Morris was sure the problem was being created by a small number of people who were unable to exercise proper control over their dogs.
And because the council only responded to complaints, it left staff in a difficult position to take action when they reached the beach up to half an hour later.
Western Bay of Plenty District Council's Rachael Davie said public consultation from last month reflected a lot of people in support of more dog-exercise areas, who felt strongly about putting leash restrictions in certain places.
The Dog Control Policy and Bylaw set the rules and controls for the management of dogs in the district.
They also place requirements on owners to ensure negative aspects of dog behaviour are minimised, and recognise the positive contribution responsible dog ownership makes to the community.
Dogs must be on a leash at all times in Matua Salt Marsh and in the Papamoa Dune Wilderness Area between Papamoa Domain and Taylor Rd. Dogs are not allowed in the following areas:
¦Mount Maunganui main beach, from Moturiki (Leisure) Island up to and including Mauao.
¦Pilot Bay from Mauao to Salisbury Ave.
¦On Omanu Beach, within 200m of the Omanu Surf Club premises.
¦On Papamoa Beach, within 200m of the Papamoa Surf Club premises.
Parks and reserves
¦Mauao including the base track.
¦Moturiki (Leisure) Island.
¦McLaren Falls Park.
¦Papamoa Hills Park.
¦Inside any fenced children's playground or within 10m from any play equipment inside any unfenced children's playground.
¦Otumoetai Pa Historic Reserve.