Dog owners at Taupō Bay are not the only critics of the Far North District Council's proposed dog control bylaw, but they are feeling particularly aggrieved.
If the proposal was adopted, spokesman and permanent resident Ted Breach said their beach would be the only one in the Far North where dogs would not be able to run in the winter months because it would be packed with tourists.
"Or so the council believes."
The proposed new rules included Exceptional Rules for Beaches, which identified beaches that were popular with visitors and holiday-makers, and would impose seasonal restrictions.
Those rules would apply not only at Taupō Bay but also at Cable Bay, Cooper's Beach, Paihia, Russell, Tauranga Bay and Te Ti.
The special rule would prohibit unleashed dogs from 9am to 6pm December to March, but not from April to November, except for Taupō Bay, where they would have to be leashed at all times.
"All these beaches are popular tourist destinations over the summer and quiet over the winter, yet for some reason the council has singled out Taupō Bay as being so busy with tourists in winter that dogs aren't allowed to be off-leash," Mr Breach said.
The Taupō Bay Dog Owners' Group (Taupō Bay DOGs) had been lobbying the council since October last year for off-leash access for their dogs.
Mr Breach said the group represented the majority of the Taupō Bay community, comprising 85 families who lived there, owned baches or were frequent visitors.
The group had specifically been asking the council to declare the sandspit end of the beach a wildlife protected area for dotterels, and for the main beach from the 'surfies carpark' to the boat ramp to be on-leash 9am to 5pm December to January, then off-leash from February to November, and for the boat ramp to the north end of the beach to be off-leash year-round.
"We are very disappointed that the council has completely ignored what the majority of the community in Taupō Bay has asked for in regards to beach dog access," Mr Breach said.
"It is crazy that the council has singled out our beach to be the only tourist beach in the Far North where you can't run your dog.
"We have worked with local conservationists to identify the wildlife protection zone — the sandspit area — which we are pleased to see has been included in the dog bylaw.
"Many of us are actively involved in the local Landcare group, so know the importance of protecting our wildlife.
"However, this ruling on the main beach is to protect tourists — not the wildlife.
"We will continue to lobby the council, and will be making submissions on the dog bylaw, and encourage other dog owners to do so.
"We just hope the council will come to its senses and allow our dogs to run on the beach early in the mornings and late afternoons in the summer and during the off-season times"
The council had yet to respond to the Taupō Bay DOGs about how it made the decision which singled out Taupō Bay, he said.