Community views help shape Council's furs and feathers policy

18 March 2016

Wellington City Council's Environment Committee has agreed a draft Animal Bylaw and Dog Policy for formal consultation.

Dog running across a field.

Public consultation will run from 1 April – 2 May 2016 and a new bylaw must be in place by September 2016. Decisions will be made after Council has undertaken a full consultation with the Wellington public.

The Bylaw and policy contain proposed measures to encourage responsible ownership of animals that will reduce public nuisance, help protect local wildlife and improve the welfare of animals. The updated Dog Policy aims to recognise community views and health benefits of dog ownership while balancing public safety concerns.

Environment Committee Chairperson Cr Pannett is keen to understand from the public their views on the matter and ensure the Council’s actions take into consideration public needs.

A recent Council survey, which received over 700 responses, showed half of all households had domestic pets. However 97% of survey respondents agreed protection of wildlife was important and that pet owners were willing to take practical steps to stop their pets harming wildlife.

Key issues that will be consulted on are:

  • requiring cats to be microchipped
  • permission to keep more than three cats over the age of six months
  • roosters prohibited from urban areas
  • permission required to keep more than a set number of poultry
  • the feeding of animals including pigeons in public places will be prohibited, unless in a designated area
  • dogs will be prohibited from being left unattended in a public place
  • dogs will now be allowed to stop in the central city area
  • updates to time restrictions in some exercise areas

Dog exercise areas have also been reviewed, and some new areas are proposed. Currently there are 71 exercise areas across the city. There will be gradual improvements to the more popular exercise areas. The Council will also consult on the possibility of having an off-leash walking track to provide more exercise options.

Council understands making available a range of options to exercise dogs in a safe environment is important to dog owners,” says Cr Pannett “We are really interested to hear from the public to see if the current areas are meeting community needs.”

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says Wellington is an urban diversity leader for marine and terrestrial wildlife.

Wildlife could flourish even more if we can agree on some modest changes to the current rules,” she says.

Details of the public consultation will be posted on the Wellington City Council website, in the Wellingtonian and at local libraries and community centres. Public consultation is due to run from 1 April – 2 May 2016 and proposed changes are to be adopted and in force by September 2016.