When is a dog park not a dog park? When it is a public park or reserve!
Again, I find myself writing another article on another aspect of Dog Safety, that sadly seems to be getting overlooked by many people.
While there are a lot responsible dog owners out there, there are many more, who are not. While some, maybe are just confused and don’t know the difference between a designated Dog Park and/or a Public Park or Reserve, others are just too complacent and have a “she’ll be right attitude”.
Dog parks are for dogs and their owners and they are called “Dog Parks”.
Public Parks, Beaches and Reserves are exactly that, they are there for the general public (that means everyone) to enjoy.
Many, but not all public parks and reserves have areas where dog owners can walk their dogs, they may have “off leash“, “on leash” and “dogs not allowed” areas and are sign posted accordingly.
The signs are there for a reason. Unfortunately, signs only work if dog owners choose to read and take note of them.
However there maybe some confusion over the “Dogs off Leash” signs that are posted in many Public Parks and Reserves. So what do they really mean?
“Dogs Off Leash” means you can have your dog off the leash but it must be under your continuous control at all times. In other words dog owners need to have their “Eyes Wide Open” and be aware of their surroundings and what is going on around them. A good recall is a must if your dog is off lead. If your dog doesn’t have a good recall then don’t have it off the lead. Use a long line instead.
Cyclists and joggers who exercise their dogs off lead also need to have their “Eyes Wide Open” and be aware of their surroundings and watch where their dog is and what it is doing.
I have left the best for last, motorists who exercise their dogs by letting them run along side their vehicle while they are driving, have no control of their dog whatsoever.
Everyone has the right to enjoy their day out, wherever they may choose to go.
“Dogs off Leash” doesn’t give dog owners the right to let their dog run amok, harassing, startling, frightening or intimidating other members of the public, whether they are other dog owners or not.
“It’s ok my dog is friendly”, is a commonly used phrase these days, by people who have little or no control of their dog, when it’s off leash.
If your dog does run off and won’t come back, don’t just stand there calling it, put one foot in front of the other and go and get your dog. Don’t just watch while some other person has to deal with your dog.
The Dog Control act clearly states:
in sections 5 Obligations of Dog Owners and section 53 Offence of failing to keep your dog under control
(f) to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the dog does not injure, endanger, intimidate or otherwise cause distress to any person
(g) to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the dog does not injure, endanger, or cause distress to any stock, poultry, domestic animal, or protected wildlife
:(h) to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the dog does not damage or endanger any property belonging to any other person
Section 53 Dog Control Act Offence of failing to keep dog under control
(1) Every person commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $3,000 who, being the owner of a dog, fails to keep that dog under control.
If you are a dog owner you are legally obligated to keep your dog under control and are liable for any damage done by your dog. the incidences of dog attacks and bites are increasing worldwide and New Zealand is no exception. I personally believe many people these days are just too complacent and have a “she’ll be right attitude”.
I was reminded today of an issue I forgot to cover in this article, dog owners who don’t have a collar on their dog and don’t carry a leash with them when they are out in public. These people do exist, they are stupid and irresponsible and some are just darn right arrogant because they have no way of controlling their dog. They seem to be unaware or don’t care, about the amount of trouble they may cause and if convicted, they can be fined up to $500. (Dog Control Act: Section 54A Owner must use or carry leash in public)
Dog owners need to protect their dogs and keep them safe and have a few manners and common sense, when it comes to taking their dog out and about.
Also read “Dogs off leash but not under control” and the links below:
Zerobites Dog Training