New horse dung rule pleases, riles

The Dunedin City Council is keen to ‘‘educate all users to ensure enjoyment of our reserves and...
The Dunedin City Council is keen to ‘‘educate all users to ensure enjoyment of our reserves and beaches’’. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery.
Horse droppings must be cleaned from Dunedin tracks by riders but they can remain on footpaths and roads, a new bylaw states.

A community board head says the new rules are a "step in the right direction", but a horseman reckons the bylaw is "ridiculous".

Dunedin City  Council recreation and planning facilities manager Jendi Paterson said under the recently adopted Reserves and Beaches Bylaw, horse owners were expected to remove horse droppings from  or near access tracks as a courtesy to other users.

The bylaw allowed for enforcement, she said.

"However, this would be an absolute last resort in respect to horse droppings.

"Our approach in the first instance is to educate all users to ensure enjoyment of our reserves and beaches."

Council transport group manager Richard Saunders said  under the council’s Roading Bylaw  owners were not required to clean up if their horse left droppings on a public road or footpath.

The council received few complaints about the issue, he said.

People could call the council to arrange for  horse droppings to be removed from footpaths or roads, he said.

"However, because horse droppings are biodegradable, if the mess is not likely to create a safety hazard, it is not made a priority."

Saddle Hill Community Board chairman Scott Weatherall said the board made a submission on the Reserves and Beaches Bylaw calling for a change so horse riders had to ‘‘clean up the poo’’.

Wandering horseman Keith Roberts with his horse Zara and her manure near Berwick. Photo: ODT File
Wandering horseman Keith Roberts with his horse Zara and her manure near Berwick. Photo: ODT File

Most of the feedback from concerned residents was about droppings on roads and footpaths.

"It nearly takes up the whole blinking footpath."

At a board meeting on Thursday, board member Paul Weir said horse droppings recently covered a section of footpath in Waldronville and he watched a pedestrian attempt to "push it in the gutter".

"It just smeared right over," Mr Weir said at the meeting.

He rang the council several times about the droppings and was assured a contractor would clean them up, he said at the meeting.

Mr Weatherall said the bylaw was a "step in the right direction" and he hoped the Roading Bylaw would be reviewed so people could make submissions asking for roads and footpaths to be included.

Horseman Keith Roberts (69), of Berwick, said he had ridden around New Zealand four times on his horse Zara and had never picked up her droppings.

The bylaw would not change his behaviour, he said.

"Never."

Many horse riders were young girls and it was "ridiculous" to expect them to carry a shovel, bags and gloves to pick up droppings.

"Are they expected to take the bag away with them? ... Where are you suppose to put it — on the side of the road, in someone’s letterbox or garden? What do you do with it?"

A rider holding a bag of droppings would find it "virtually impossible" to mount a horse.

The bags would be a health and safety issue, he said.

"Horses don’t like bags of [dropping] swinging around their heads ... You’re going to have kids getting dumped off."

A dropping could weigh 5kg and some horses could relieve themselves three times in a journey, he said.

"A lot of people who write these bylaws have no idea."

Comments

1). An owner can be fined for not picking up dog droppings. A horse is much, much bigger than a dog.
2) faeces biodegrades into soil like tracks, not into concrete and asphalt like footpaths and roads. Kinda got that one backwards, there.

Though I suppose a horse is much more financially restrictive than a dog.
Selfawareness died screaming.

The only people who have an issue with horse droppings on tracks are cyclists. If anything isn't of benefit to cyclists DCC will try to ban it. The looney leanings of DCC have little grasp of reality or practicality.

Try being a mother with a pram and try to negotiate your way around a great big pile of steaming horse poo. What about those with limited mobility such as the old infirm and those with wheelchairs.

Once it gets wet horse poo becomes extremely slippery and a major hazard. Does the ACC cover injuries caused by horse poo?

It appears to me that those who ride horses consider themselves above everyone else.