Council to patrol dogs on beaches

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Like humans, dogs love a day out at the beach - but some Far North dog owners have been flouting bylaws designed to protect other beachgoers and rare wildlife.
Like humans, dogs love a day out at the beach - but some Far North dog owners have been flouting bylaws designed to protect other beachgoers and rare wildlife.

Patrols targeting irresponsible dog owners will start at Far North beaches this weekend following a series of complaints about beachgoers feeling threatened and endangered birdlife being put at risk.

The council's Dog Control Bylaw bars dogs from most beaches between 9am and 6pm from December 1 to February 28. It also bans dogs at all times in areas where endangered wildlife, such as the New Zealand dotterel and the banded dotterel, breed.

In recent weeks, however, the Far North District Council has been fielding complaints about dog owners flouting the rules by taking their dogs on beaches during prohibited times.

District services manager Dr Dean Myburgh said dogs had also been seen off the leash in dotterel breeding areas at Tauranga Bay and Taupo Bay.

"People are telling us that some beach users have felt unsafe with dogs running around unleashed and that bird colonies near or on the beaches could also be at risk.

When animal management officers have responded to complaints they sometimes find the offending dogs and owners have left the scene by the time they arrive," Mr Myburgh said.

The purpose of the bylaw was to allow swimmers and other beach users to have fun in the sun without disruption from dogs. It also aimed to allow endangered birds to raise their young without risking predation from dogs.

Irresponsible dog owners were giving all dog owners a bad name, Mr Myburgh said.

Patrols would start this Saturday, January 23.

Officers would collect evidence and issue infringement notices if they saw any breaches of the bylaw.

- The main beaches targeted by the patrols will be Tapeka, Long Beach (Russell), Te Haumi (Paihia), Tauranga Bay and Taupo Bay. Far North beaches where the 9am-6pm December-February ban applies are Coopers Beach, Cable Bay, Taipa, Hihi, Omapere, Opononi, Whangaroa (all beaches), Taupo Bay, Tauranga Bay, Te Ngaere Bay, Paihia (all beaches), Te Haumi, English Bay, Opua Beach, Russell Beach, Tapeka Beach, Long Bay and Opito Bay. Dogs are banned at all times from DOC administered land, except with special permission, and protected wildlife zones.

- Northern Advocate

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