Dog watch

Last updated 11:10 25/02/2013

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Walking your dog is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. Stretch your legs, breathe fresh air and have fun in the natural environment.

But wait a minute: aren't many areas out of bounds to dogs?

Permits can be gained by dog owners to visit certain areas, says Department of Conservation Sounds Area ranger Margot Ferrier. She contacted the Saturday Express after reading a "Know where dogs are allowed" report on February 13 about the Marlborough District Council's dog bylaws.

"We are keen to highlight that people can take their dogs on some of the land we look after, including some of our campsites as we know this is an important part of recreation for a lot of people," Margot says.

Access to most land administered by DoC in the Marlborough Sounds is controlled because dogs can harass and sometimes kill flightless birds like kiwi, weka and penguin. Islands in the Sounds freed from introduced predators such as possums, rats and stoats have or are to become protected sanctuaries. On those islands, boat owners must not even allow their dogs ashore to relieve themselves. Dogs are permitted, however, on Arapawa and D'Urville islands.

Margot advises dog owners to visit a DoC office and learn where dogs are permitted to go. In most conservation land areas, a permit is required.

They are free but the dog's registration number, its breed and physical description is required. Some permits allow someone to take their dog to a specific location at a certain time; others can be obtained providing access to all dog-friendly areas over a six-month period.

Hunters need a dog permit as well as a hunting permit and must stay within areas where dogs are allowed.

Only four dogs per hunting party are permitted in the Mount Richmond Forest Park and Sounds Area Reserves.

Dog rules

● Keep your dog under control at all times; a dog out of sight is a dog out of control.

● Carry a leash and use it where required.

● Ensure your dog does not disrupt other people's enjoyment .

● Clean up after your dog: Take a plastic bag and always pick up your dog's waste.

Access areas

● Mount Richmond Forest Park, to the northern (Cullen Creek) end of the track with permission from landowner, Jimmy Stuart, (phone 03 574 2331).

● Rarangi Beach (on a leash)

● Robin Hood Bay (on a leash)

● Mill Flat (on a leash)

● Okiwi Bay (on a leash)

● Northbank - Mt Richmond Forest Park (excluding Waikakaho Walkway, which crosses private land)

● Branch and Leatham Valleys

● Mt Fyffe (on a leash)

More information can be found on DoC websites - Dog walking or Dog access

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- The Marlborough Express

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