Public to speak on dog policy

RHONDA MARKBY
Last updated 05:00 25/02/2013
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Love dogs or hate them, there is no doubting people feel strongly about the subject of dog control and today more than 20 people will each be given 10 minutes to tell the Timaru District Council what they think of its draft dog control policy and bylaws.

For district councillors, this is one of the most difficult problems they face during their term.

Dissatisfaction with where dogs are allowed - and can run free - has cropped up periodically in the past couple of years, with dog owners keen to have the present rules relaxed.

And now, with the bylaws and dog control policy up for review, the arguments look set to all be heard again.

More than 80 submissions were received on the bylaw review. Of those submissions, most relate to dogs.

About 60 per cent of the "dog" submissions, are in favour of the draft bylaws which are generally more lenient than the existing ones.

Mayor Janie Annear said she was surprised by the number of submissions from people who were against any relaxation of the current situation.

"When the new councillors came along I told them rates, dogs and parking fees get the most reaction. It will be interesting.

"Dogs are one issue which always attracts real passion from the community, the extremes of those who adore them and those who don't like them at all."

She does not have a dog, but does take her daughter's for walks.

Many of the submitters want to see the rules around Caroline Bay and the Otipua Wetlands loosened to give dogs more use of those areas.

The Timaru Retail Association wants to see the town become more "dog friendly". "We believe that Timaru should be more dog friendly. With the large number of cafes in the CBD, travellers and locals out walking, we want to encourage a more relaxed atmosphere," its submission said.

The increasing number of penguins around Caroline Bay was mentioned by several submitters as reason why dogs should not be allowed off the lead in that area. There are also submissions from walkers and cyclists opposing dogs being allowed off the lead on walkways. Several will tell councillors of being rushed at or attacked by dogs not on leads, and of the negative attitude of dog owners when such incidents happen.

Other subjects that submitters will speak on today include freedom camping and speed limits.

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- The Timaru Herald

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