A bird expert wants dogs banned from two city parks, saying Tauranga's relaxed approach to canine control is harming feathered friends.

The view was among those expressed during a hearing of submissions on the Tauranga City Council's draft Dog Control Bylaw on Monday.

Other submitters called for more dog parks, more accessible dog owner education, and better signage about where dogs are allowed.

One protested a new rule banning off-leash dogs on a stretch of Pāpāmoa East beach, and professional dog walkers objected to a rule limiting the number of dogs a person could walk at once.


Massey University professor and ornithologist John Cockrem, who was soon to move from Palmerston North to Bellevue, said he thought the draft policy did not provide for the majority of people in Tauranga who were not dog owners.

Ornithologist John Cockrem in York Park, an area he wants dogs banned from to protect birdlife. Photo / George Novak
Ornithologist John Cockrem in York Park, an area he wants dogs banned from to protect birdlife. Photo / George Novak

"A starting point where dogs can go off-leash in most parts of the city is not a good place to start."

Studies had shown the presence of dogs in an area - even leashed dogs - had an adverse impact on wildlife, Cockrem said.

He called on the council to ban or restrict dogs from the Gordon Carmichael Reserve and Matua Estuary - York Park to protect endangered birds, including banded rail, grey ducks and harrier hawks.

"In special ecological areas, dogs should be prohibited or at least required to be on a leash."

Properly managed, Tauranga could become a destination for bird-watchers, he said.

Ron Reed also wanted to see more dog-free parks, and to have them banned from the Tauranga, Mount Maunganui and Papamoa CBDs.

He also raised concerns about dogs moving into indoor shared spaces.


He had been shocked to read about children reading to a dog in a library and the rise of people, "mostly young women", wanting to take their dogs to the office.

"What about people with allergies?"

Sue Lee and Austeja Sevcenakaite both argued that the city and its people would benefit from more dog-friendly spaces, such as dog parks, not less.

Sevcenakaite said Tel Aviv was twice the size of Tauranga and had 70 dog parks to Tauranga's nil and in Krakow, Poland, dogs were welcomed into museums.

"If you want to cruise the Norwegian Fjords not only can you take your dog, you can have him pampered on the way."

Pāpāmoa East resident Steve Warnes spoke against the new rule requiring dogs to be on a leash on a stretch of the beach during certain summer hours.

He said it was ridiculous that for 10 months of the year his dog was considered under control if it would come to his call, but for two months it had to be leashed.

"I have struggled with the concept and tried to explain it to the dog, but it goes right over his head."

The committee will consider changes to the draft bylaw, which was expected to be approved later this year.

Dogs in Tauranga

In the financial year ending 2018:

Registered dogs: 12,704
Known dogs: 13,082
Aggressive dogs: 2.35%
Impounded and released: 675
Impounded and euthanised: 112
Dog parks: 0

Attacks on people: 84
Rushing people: 101
Attacks on pets: 123
Barking: 1258
Roaming: 1580

Source: Tauranga City Council