The number of complaints about dogs in Rotorua's CBD has risen in the past six months but the council says the majority of dog-related incidents in the CBD relate to out-of-towners.
While the council couldn't provide specific figures about complaints in the CBD, the increase is in line with city-wide figures showing a slight increase in dog-related complaints or incidents in the past year, from 5629 in 2019/2020 to 5837 in 2020/2021.
The council's Dog Control Bylaw 2005 bans dogs from the Rotorua CBD. The ban was first introduced in the late 1980s in response to complaints about aggressive dogs and dog faeces being left in the streets.
There is signage in place throughout the CBD to remind dog owners of the ban. Dogs in the CBD are also picked up on the council's CCTV network.
Rotorua Lakes Council team lead animal control Dylan Wright said the bylaw was last reviewed in 2012 and was due for review in 2022.
"We consider this aspect of the bylaw to be effective," Wright said.
When asked if animal control had been receiving more complaints about dogs in the past six months, Wright said "yes".
"We do see a small number of people walking their dogs in the CBD.
"However, the majority of these people are from out of town and once advised of the bylaw are generally happy to use nearby parks and reserves outside the CBD."
Hennessy's Bar owner and Hospitality New Zealand Bay of Plenty branch president Reg Hennessy said he had noticed an increase in the number of dogs in the Rotorua CBD over the past six months.
While Hennessy had not noted any problems from dog owners, he also said he had not seen animal control in the CBD.
"I have never once witnessed animal control people in our CBD, let alone enforcing the rule of no dogs in the CBD.
"Of course there are differences in the way dogs and their owners are using the CBD," Hennessy said.
"For example, some like to bring their restrained pet in for lunch and hospitality supplies a bowl of water while the owner eats. Then there are the 'straining at the leash' types, where you are never really sure if their owner has them under complete control."
Wright said the council's animal control team responded to reports of dogs in the CBD.
There are currently 12,078 dogs registered in Rotorua. That is 377 more than the 11,701 dogs registered at the end of 2019.
There were 117 reported dog attacks on animals, people and stock between December 2020 and May 2021, seven more than the number of dog attacks reported for the previous six months.
Meanwhile, the cost of registering the standard urban dog has increased by $13 from $92 to $105 this year. The registration for a standard rural dog has increased by $12 from $63 to $75.
Dog registration fees must be paid by July 31.
What your dog registration fees pay for
- Providing and maintaining facilities (the pound) for the care, welfare and return of lost, stray, impounded or seized dogs
- Investigation, monitoring and resolution of dog issues such as nuisance (barking and roaming), aggressive and dangerous dogs (rushings and attacks)
- Monitoring and enforcement of the dog control act, bylaws and policy
- Providing doggie doo bags (collect these from the Customer Centre counter)
- Friendly and professional advice to dog owners and residents, also providing bark collars (for hire)
- Education programme to school children
- Patrolling public areas, reserves, parks, sportsfields and signage in public places including our lakes, all aimed at public education, safety and where required enforcement action
- Stock control on roads
Source: Rotorua Lakes Council