Owners want pets off leash

FREE-RANGE HOUND: Gemma, 11, and Ruby Pledge, 13, walk with their dog Minky along the lakefront of Lake Wanaka.
FREE-RANGE HOUND: Gemma, 11, and Ruby Pledge, 13, walk with their dog Minky along the lakefront of Lake Wanaka.

A council bid to restrict pooches has been labelled a recipe for disaster, vague and stupid by howling mad dog owners.

Residents are gnashing their teeth at a council proposal for a new bylaw to leash all pooches in public.

Queenstown Lakes District Council has received dozens of submissions from Queenstown, Wanaka and townships around the region opposing the bylaw proposal, which if enacted requires owners to keep dogs on leashes in public places such as parks.

The main changes to an existing policy under the proposal are: no dogs except disability dogs on school land, Queenstown hill or designated areas and dog owners must keep animals under control and leashed in cemeteries, playgrounds and other public places except designated exercise areas and the rural general zone.

Many owners who submitted on the bylaw objected to the leashing proposal, with most focusing on the need to train younger dogs off a leash. Other complaints criticised the draft bylaw as being vague regarding a proposal to introduce dog exercise areas.

Denis Mander, who works for the council, sent a private submission as a member of the Wakatipu Dog Agility Club, saying it was unclear whether the club could use Jardine Park and there was a lack of clarity regarding the proposed exercise areas.

Keri Garrett said it was difficult to provide a meaningful submission when the council had not provided information on intended areas designated for exercise while Rebecca McMillan said dogs needed to be able to run and exercise.

"[On a leash] they can't play and have fun with other dogs."

Not everyone was critical of the bylaw. Jacks Pt resident John Turnbull supported the proposal to leash animals and said building contractors had dogs that "roamed the village during the day" and "Just walking around Jacks Pt I inevitably come across raw dog poo or poo nicely wrapped in a plastic bag. At the moment I can see Jacks Pt being attractive to the irresponsible dog owner."

Speaking to the Mirror, Kate Butler, who runs the Wakatipu Dog Agility Club, said she thought the draft bylaw was fine until she realised there was no detail on proposed dog exercise areas.

The council has scheduled public hearings on the draft bylaw in Wanaka on July 29 and in Queenstown on July 30.


David Hawkins: "The bylaw is pandering too heavily towards the paranoid minority who have an unrealistic view of the threat of injury by dogs."

Heather Watt: "It is really difficult to decide whether to support or oppose this bylaw when the designated dog exercise areas are not detailed."

Jessica Warburton: "I am opposed to the development of dog exercise areas. From past experience, they are not effective and fairly ugly."

Jessie Lenagh-Glue: "It is unclear whether the new bylaw would mean that dogs would not be allowed to swim off the foreshore of the lake."

Andy Armstrong: "I am against blanket banning - areas need defining where dogs can or cannot be."

Bonnie Frederick: "I oppose having to keep my dogs confined to a leash in all public places . . . I have always kept my dogs under full control."

David Bylett: "The proposed blanket restriction on where dogs can be freely exercised concerns me."

Jen Corish: "We have a well behaved dog and it would seem incredibly cruel to keep her on a lead at all times."


Number of registered dogs: 3728

Public safety complaints:

Dog attack, serious, person: 1

Dog attack, minor, person: 5

Dog attack, serious, on animal: 8

Dog attack, minor, animal: 6

Roaming dogs: 348

SOURCE: QLDC 2012-13 figures

The Mirror