Enjoy summer in the Coromandel with your dog 20 December 2018 Over spring we ran our ‘Lead the Way’ campaign so our local communities could help us set the scene about dog control for when visitors come over the busy summer period. The idea is if locals follow the rules and have their dog on a lead in public, then visitors will follow that lead. The campaign is about educating the public about what is involved in being a responsible dog owner, including the importance of keeping your dog on a lead. On the Coromandel we are lucky to be able to take our best canine buddies almost anywhere, whether it's down to the beach or for a stroll into town for a bite to eat. What you might not realise is that you need to have your dog on lead in most areas unless specified. We are now strictly enforcing the responsibility of dog owners to keep their dogs on leads in areas not designated as off-lead areas. For most of the year dogs are allowed to run and walk freely on the majority of the beaches. From 20 December to 31 January, and on all holiday weekends, between 9am-6pm, dogs are prohibited on our beaches. Dogs must be on lead when walking in public, approaching a wildlife area and as instructed by a compliance officer. You can find our dog control signs with maps around the district (example pictured right). To download a copy of a map for your area see www.tcdc.govt.nz/dogrules. Our bylaws team have been spending time stopping and talking to dog owners about our local rules, especially if dogs aren't on lead where they should be. For any dog not on a lead in areas not designated as an off-lead area, dog owners can be fined $300. “The main purpose of the ‘Lead the Way’ campaign was to educate people of our rules and to encourage voluntary compliance before issuing fines,” says Brian Taylor, our Council’s Compliance and Licensing Manager. “Our decision was influenced by the public,” says Mr Taylor. “Lately there have been a lot of complaints about dogs off their leads. These have been both formal and informal. There were official complaints directly to us at TCDC as well as a large amount of discussion on social media platforms. “It’s also important to note that there seems to have been a shift in the public mentality about roaming dogs. People seem to have moved away from wanting to find a roaming dog’s owner to now calling Council and complaining.” Dog owners across the Coromandel have plenty of options for dog exercise, with beaches and designated areas where dogs are allowed to run or walk freely. “We’re of the view that dog owners need to understand the summer time changes that are made to accommodate everyone, residents and locals, over summer,” says Mr Taylor. The Coromandel’s population grows enormously over summer and having dogs off-lead around so many people can be risky. Also, over this period, 9am – 6pm, the beach is very hot. Remember the five-second rule. Whenever you take your dog outside, place the back of your hand on the pavement. If you can't hold it there for five seconds, it's too hot to walk your dog. “The current rules and regulations in our Dog Control Bylaw are based around finding a happy medium between dogs, people and wildlife,” says Mr Taylor. “We shouldn’t forget that endangered birds like the dotterel also populate our beaches this time of year." A responsible dog owner: Picks up their dog's poo. Please carry bags with you or use one of our dog poo bag dispensers across the district. Dog owners can also be fined $300 for failing to pick up their dog's poo. Carries a lead at all times and has their dog under control when off-lead. Unless you are in a designated dog exercise area, you must have your dog on a lead. Ensures their dog is registered and wears a registration tag at all times. If your dog is registered in another district, an ID with your name, address and mobile phone number will help if your dog gets lost or picked up by a Dog Control Officer. Makes sure their dog has access to shade, fresh drinking water and never leaves their dog in a hot car. Remembers the five-second rule: Whenever you take your dog outside, place the back of your hand on the pavement. If you can't hold it there for five seconds, it's too hot to walk your dog. Makes sure their property has somewhere to keep their pet safe, secure and under control (and in the shade) where they will not be a nuisance to neighbours. For more information please visit our website www.tcdc.govt.nz/dogs.