The number of dogs being allowed to do their business on
Dunedin sports fields and run around them off the lead has
prompted the city's animal services team to increase its
monitoring and education of dog owners.
Animal services manager Ros MacGill said the team was taking
a stronger stance on monitoring and education following a
growing number of reports and complaints about faeces and
uncontrolled dogs on sports fields.
The worst incident was when a dog owner reportedly took a
swing at a parent at a junior rugby practice at Kettle Park
at the weekend after another parent asked the man to put his
dog on a lead.
The team involved had since decided to move its practices
elsewhere because of the ongoing issues with dogs on the
Animal services patrols had increased and animal control
officers were speaking to dog owners they saw, educating them
about the rules.
Foot patrols were done at different times when the fields
were being used, she said.
For example, officers had been to Kettle Park about 5pm on
Tuesday and spoken to several dog owners.
Ms MacGill said the main issue was that people did not
seem to understand the rules. New signs explaining the rules,
using words, not just symbols, were being erected around the
city's sport fields.
It was up to dog owners to take personal responsibility for
their dogs and to understand and follow the rules, she said.
Clearly, a situation where children were chasing a ball
around would be tempting for any dog, which could bite in the
attempt to get the ball, and owners should keep their dogs
away at those times, she said.
She encouraged members of the public to report any
out-of-control dogs, taking down descriptions of owners and
dogs, or registration numbers of cars and dogs and reporting
them to the council.
Dunedin Rugby Club junior rugby president Damon Sutherland
said one of the club's junior teams had moved its practice
largely because of the ongoing dog control problems at Kettle
The issue was becoming a health and safety issue when players
were having to pick up dog faeces from fields before
training, he said.
Junior rugby coach Craig Cumming said it was a rare night
after training when he or the children did not have to wash
dog faeces off themselves.
He said he had noticed increased patrols and the situation
did seem to be improving, but it was ''clearly'' down to dog
owners to take more responsibility.
''Picking up their poop is one of the responsibilities that
goes with dog ownership.''
Ms MacGill said the council was reviewing its dog control
bylaw this year.
A public survey on the bylaw would be done in June.
Rules on sports fields
• Dogs are not
allowed on marked sports fields in Dunedin, but are allowed
around the edges of fields if they are controlled.
• Controlled means on a lead or off lead if the dog will come
straight back to its owner when called.
• Dog excrement (in any public place) must be picked up and
disposed off appropriately. Owners caught leaving it can be