Dogs off the leash in park

RHONDA MARKBY
Last updated 05:00 27/02/2013
Janie Annear
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/Fairfax NZ
POOCH TIME: Timaru mayor Janie Annear says the estimated costs of proposed earthquake-prone building regulations in a report were "conservative", but one of her councillors disagrees.

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Dogs will be allowed off the leash on walkways and tracks in Timaru's Scenic Reserve - as long as they are under control.

For the last six years the district council has specified only two types of areas in its bylaws - areas where dogs were prohibited, and dog exercise areas, with dogs being allowed in any other public places not specified as long as they were under control.

Though dogs under control will still be allowed in any public place (not specified), the new bylaw has a third category - areas where dogs must be on a leash - in an attempt to overcome the confusion with the existing bylaw, council environmental health manager Rick Catchpowle explained.

At present the Scenic Reserve is deemed an exercise area but the walkways are not included. The new bylaw allows for a dog to be off the leash in exercise areas, including the walkways and tracks in the area, as long as it is under control and responds to the owner's commands.

Dog owners have been petitioning the council for the last couple of years to have their pets off the lead in the Scenic Reserve. If the dogs were not under effective control they would still need to be on a lead.

Use of the reserve had also changed since the last bylaw was implemented six years ago, with the formation of more mountainbike tracks, Mr Catchpowle said.

In spite of the new category, dogs are still not allowed on any playground, sports ground or training field in the district. They are also banned within 10 metres of any children's play equipment, play area, paddling pool or aviary in any park or reserve.

Council-controlled swimming pools and public libraries remain no-go dog areas, as do food preparation areas or premises selling food. Other prohibited areas in Timaru are Aorangi Park, Caroline Bay beach tidal area from November 1 till March 31, Stafford St between Sefton and North streets and The Royal Arcade.

Some areas of the Temuka and Geraldine domains are off limits, as are the Temuka and Geraldine motor camps and the Pleasant Point camping ground (from Labour Weekend to Easter inclusive).

Dogs need to be on a leash on streets, footpaths and berms not in prohibited or dog exercise areas. They must be on a leash in cemeteries and parks, reserves and playing areas not covered by the prohibited or dog exercise categories.

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- The Timaru Herald

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