Doggy don't: park too foul for children's use

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 fields.

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.

Ros MacGill.
Ros MacGill.
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 Park.

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 fined $300.




I avoid Robin Hood Park like it was owned by the Sheriff of Nottingham. So should you.

Ranting won't address the issue

It seems to me that a few 'bad' owners make all dog owners suffer, and there are always two sides to a good debate (after all we live in a democracy). I agree owners should be resposible and pick up after their dogs, and I agree with the reader who noted how few areas dogs can go off lead. The cost of the dog license is more than enough to fund larger areas (almost all those designated are too small for decent exercise) - dog owners don't need good land or agility equipment, they need a huge bare field where a frizbee can travel! Then there would be no need for dogs to go onto playing fields, so we should stop whinging and lobby the council to provide places these owners can take their dogs, keep them off the fields, and where they feel they get value for a very expensive dog license (let's get cat registration as well, these pesky things do more harm and spread disease into my garden way more offensive than anything a dog could do).

Dog owner controls

It is all very well for the DCC to pass more Draconian dog owner regulations, but it seems obvious there are a large number of dogs in the city which all need exercise, and remarkably few places to take them. It could even be said that too many of the city's green areas are already given over to summer and winter sports. In other words, the city needs a few more dedicated dog exercise areas where dogs are can run free, especially when one considers how much revenue the DCC collects from dog owners.

Does the excrement rule apply to cat owners?

If not why not? Is the council including registering and applyig the same rules to cat owners in their review of the bylaw. If not why not?

Dogs on sports fields

As a dog owner, and also having children who play rugby, I am disgusted at the state of some of the sports fields around Dunedin.

How does a "controlled dog" ie off the leash, but one that comes "straight back" to its owner when called, know the difference between "around the edges" or "on the sports field"? The answer is: it doesn't. 

The only way to solve the problem is to allow dogs on edges of sports fields only if they are on a leash. This way they are under control - and their owners will be aware when they have done the business. Most people I see with their dogs running around off the lead, whilst on a sports park, tend to look the other way when their dogs go to the toilet. If they want their dogs to run around off the lead, they should take them to a dog park.

One of the worst places is Robin Hood Park, where everyone pulls up, early in the morning (well before Dog Control are out and about), and lets Fido out for a good old run around (and download). Always off the lead, and he normally heads to the centre of the park. No sign of a doggy bag from the owner, even though they are driving a very nice car.  The edges of Robin Hood, and the bush paths, are loaded with dog poo, and the schools often have to "cone off' the dog turds, so the kids from nearby schools don't run through them.

The only answer seems to be that dogs go to dog parks, and aren't allowed (unleashed) on sports fields and parks. All due to irresponsible dog owners....

Have a three strikes system

It's a bit like car ownership. Fines don't really deter people but the threat of losing the car and licence is much greater. Since pet ownership is owner responsibily, confiscation of the animal on the 3rd offence would be a big deterrent, but I don't want too sound heavy handed so stern warnings and a heads-up would need to be made first and 2nd times.

Fines too low

Here we go again. If you want to put an end to this problem, hit it hard with a real fine, like $2000. Put it on the signs, and it will stop overnight. Problem solved!

ODT/directory - Local Businesses

CompanyLocationBusiness Type
Aitken Greg Painter & DecoratorDunedinPainters
AON New ZealandOamaruInsurance
Leslie Groves HospitalDunedinHospitals
DT CarterQueenstownClothing