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Policy on dogs update

Published: 8 November 2018

Auckland Council has recently completed a review of its policy on dogs and related bylaws so it can continue to improve the way dogs are managed.

Today the council’s Regulatory Committee agreed to amendments to ensure dog rules effectively balance the needs of dogs, their owners and all Aucklanders.

No changes have yet taken effect, with several decision-making steps to be made and public consultation before an amended bylaw is expected to be in place late 2019.

Michael Sinclair, Social Policy and Bylaw Manager, says that the main aim of the proposed changes is to make existing rules easier to communicate to the public and to ensure that information is presented more consistently.

“One of the changes proposed is to the time and season definition, which is currently 10am to 5pm between Saturday of Labour weekend and 1 March. In the last five years, 13 local boards have been granted exemptions to this, meaning we now have 17 different time and season definitions being used across the region.

“We’re proposing a new definition of 10am to 7pm for specified beaches and parks between Saturday of Labour weekend and 31 March. This definition will affect the time of the day when access rules will change in areas where there is a time and season rule has been used. This definition more closely reflects the current situation in most local board areas.

“It’s important to note that all current ‘on-leash’ areas at local parks and beaches will remain on-leash and all current ‘off-leash’ areas at local parks and beaches will remain off-leash. Areas that currently have a time and season rule in place will continue to have a time and season rule in place. However, the new regional definition will have an impact on access in local board areas that currently use a different definition of time and season.

"We want to make it easier for dog owners to know where they can take their dogs, and to understand what is expected of them in different places. Achieving this will mean some changes to times in some areas will need to be made.

"Future decisions about the type of dog access rules that apply at local parks and beaches will continue to be made by local boards.”

Consistency in the way we present and communicate rules

We want to be more consistent in the way that our rules are presented and communicated to reduce confusion about rules in different areas.

Currently, in some local board areas we provide a list of all the places that people can take their dogs off-lead, but in other local board areas, we provide a list of all the places people must have their dogs on-lead. This is confusing for people who take their dogs to different areas.

We want information like this to be consistent so that it can be clearly understood by everyone.

Changes to benefit all Aucklanders

The committee agreed to several other amendments which included:

  • Simplify the process for local board to amend local dog access rules in future
  • Apply a consistent multiple dog ownership rule across Auckland
  • Extending environmental protection provisions to cover protecting flora
  • Incentivise responsible dog ownership for owners of menacing dogs
  • Confirm who gets to make the rules in privately owned public space including maunga.

Access rules in regional parks

The only access rules that were specifically reviewed through this process are those in regional parks. Dog access rules in regional parks have not been reviewed since Auckland Council was formed in 2010 so it made sense to also review these rules now. Regional parks rangers and local boards have provided advice on required changes.

The committee today requested a statement of proposal to include the following proposed changes:

  • A standard time and season definition of 10am to 7pm, from the Saturday of Labour weekend to 31 March in Shakespear, Long Bay and Mahurangi regional parks.
  • A standard lambing season rule to prohibit dogs from 1 July to 1 December in Hunua Ranges, Omana, Mahurangu and Tapapakanga regional parks.
  • Apply specific dog access rules to protect wildlife in Glenfern Sanctuary, Long Bay, Mahurangi, Muriwai and Whatipu regional parks.

Next steps

An amended policy and bylaw will now be drafted and reported to the council’s Regulatory Committee and Governing Body early next year, before being notified for public submissions on the amended policy.

A final decision on amendments will be made by the Governing Body following feedback from the community consultation period.

Read the full reports here

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