Ban problem dog owners, staff say

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Problem dog owners could be banned from keeping dogs for up to five years, under a proposed plan.

They could also go on probation, limiting ownership of new dogs for up to two years.

The proposals by Gore District Council staff are part of a plan aimed at reducing danger and nuisance caused by dogs, which is a step closer to being developed by the council.

The council’s regulatory and planning committee approved the development of an action plan on Tuesday.

It now only needs the mandate of the full council.

General manager regulatory and planning Ian Davidson-Watts said in a report to councillors a co-ordinated and targeted action plan was needed to reduce danger and nuisance caused by dogs.

The plan would include the promotion of responsible dog ownership.

A minority of dog owners struggled to adequately control their dogs, which could lead to serious dog attacks as well as less serious problems, Dr Davidson-Watts said.

“As part of the enforcement approach adopted for such cases, staff propose that the council should use its powers through the Dog Control Act to make such persistently problematic dog owners either probationary owners, which limits ownership of new dogs for up to two years, or disqualify owners from being able to keep dogs for up to five years,” he said.

Along with education, the plan would include incentives and other ways of encouraging responsible dog ownership.

“Actions proposed include the development of a communications plan within the district, school visits, building relationships with other agencies and provision of practical advice for dog owners,” Dr Davidson-Watts said.

“As well as exercise, all dogs require inter-dog socialisation and interaction with other members of the public to prevent build-up of aggressive tendencies.”

It is suggested the council could provide defined dog exercise areas.

“One park is proposed for Mataura and at a recent dog-control hearing, the hearing panel recommended a dog park to service the needs of Gore residents in exercising and socialising dogs,” he said.

Other measures could include the provision of dog-refuse bags.

Council chief executive Steve Parry said the council needed to be embracing in its approach to encouraging owners to better train their dogs.

Mr Parry compared the problem with the issue of young people skateboarding on footpaths in Main St.

Once a designated skateboard park was established, the problem subsided, allowing the council to get tough on those skateboarders who still used the footpaths, he said.

Establishing a dog park might solve many of the problems, he said.

Dog attacks: Page 2