After a successful pilot trial, Tweed Shire Council is extending its Take the Lead program which aims to reduce the number of dogs off-leash in high conservation value areas and other public places in the Tweed.
The program, first launched in October last year, has to date focused on high conservation value areas at:
- Fingal Head
- Hastings Point
- Pottsville, and
- Wooyung Beach.
As part of the program, Council has increased its enforcement patrols in partnership with Tweed Byron Police, with 122 fines issued last year as part of the program.
Council’s Project Officer for Wildlife protection Emily Clarke said the program was crucial to ongoing efforts to protect endangered wildlife in the Tweed, as well as other animals and even people.
‘No-one expects their dog to attack wildlife or another dog, but as a recent attack on an endangered Bush Stone-curlew in Tweed Heads and an increase in dog attacks on people and pets demonstrates, unexpected attacks can be very traumatic,’ Ms Clarke said.
‘Keeping your dog on a leash is the best way to prevent an attack.
‘We are pleased our patrols, combined with new beach signage and a social media campaign, have resulted in an estimated 37 per cent increase in people doing the right thing and exercising their dogs on-leash in key designated on-leash beach locations.
‘This is great news for our local wildlife, it also makes our beaches a safer and more enjoyable place for people and other pets to visit.’
Ms Clarke said the program had been generally well received by the community, with many expressing their support through social media and directly to Council staff.
To keep this initial success going, Council Rangers will continue to run targeted patrols across the Tweed in 2023, in partnership with Tweed Byron Police.
‘It’s a $330 fine for walking a dog off-leash unless it’s in a designated off-leash area, so don’t risk being fined,’ Ms Clarke said.
‘We are asking locals and visitors to take the lead when on our beaches. If you like exercising your pooch off-leash, please visit one of our designated off-leash areas.’
A map is published on Council’s website to help residents locate the designated off-leash areas easily. Visit tweed.nsw.gov.au/dogs/where-
Another blow to those pet owners who do the right thing and train their dogs properly.