A group of community members from across the Byron Shire has come together asking Council to ‘make further amendments to clarify and improve the [Dogs in Public Spaces] Strategy and re-exhibit it’.
They highlight a range of issues that need further clarification including the ‘unique biodiversity values of Byron Shire’. They explain ‘the potential for negative impacts’.
However, it is in the area of compliance that they highlight the specific areas of attention required.
‘The submissions and community consultation highlighted the need for a more proactive compliance approach but this has not been reflected in the Strategy,’ they say.
In particular, they emphasise the importance of dog owner responsibility.
‘This should be the primary information made available with the QR code and should include the fines currently applicable for breaches of the Companion Animals Act.’
They point out that roads and pathways in urban areas are also public land and that these should be free from ‘threats from irresponsible dog management’.
‘Residents can experience anxiety from unwanted interactions with dogs and that disrupt their sense of place and safety in their neighbourhood, including the stress of the potential to disturb or injure wildlife,’ they point out.
Three are ongoing issues of negligent dog owners which lead to injuries to other dogs, wildlife and people in the area (see Letters p.13) . The importance of funding for compliance is therefore key.
‘The funding of compliance is raised as a constraint but we believe that the council has a responsibility to fund its commitment to the community and believe a more robust approach to the issuing of warnings and fines for breaches will result in outcomes and change the behaviour of those who don’t show respect.’