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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Public Forum - Dog Recreation areas

Presentation by Rob Loftus to Eurobodalla Shire Council on Agenda item QON17/002 DOG RECREATION VENUES at the Eurobodalla Shire Council meeting 11th April 2017. Good morning, Deputy Mayor, Councilors, General Manager and Council Staff, I would like to speak on agenda item QON17/002 DOG RECREATION VENUES: I attended the meeting on the 28th Feb. 2017, where a number of sites, including the Pony Club grounds, were discussed and a number were shortlisted for further consideration by Council. The provision of “dog recreational and dog training facilities in the Batemans Bay area” includes a number of separate issues that need to be addressed by Council. Namely: (1) A secure area to exercise and socialise pet dogs off-leash to be available “at all times” as is required by the Companion Animals Act. 1998. Considering the demographics of the Shire it would be considered reasonable to locate one in the Batemans Bay area. (2) Likewise, dog training facilities are also urgently needed in the Batemans Bay area, this should be a separate shared-use facility. There is another very important issue regarding “dog recreation venues” that also needs to be addressed by Council, that is the total lack of “on-leash dog recreational venues” not only in Batemans Bay, but throughout the whole Eurobodalla Shire Council area. This is the direct result of a stated Council Policy, that to-date, I have been unable to locate. This Council Policy is directly inhibiting the progress of the Dog Park and Dog Training facility to serve the need of responsible dog owners in Batemans Bay. What is this policy? I have been told by Council on numerous occasions when inquiring about venues for “dog recreational use”, that it is Council Policy: “Dogs are only permitted on grounds allocated for farm animal use” The application of this Policy is clearly evident throughout the Eurobodalla Shire Council area. But it is not listed on the Council policies webpage. So where is this Policy? Could Council please provide me with a written copy of this policy. Is this why? Council always suggests the Pony Club grounds for dog use as there is no Showground in Batemans Bay? Is this why? Pet dogs and responsible dog owners are forbidden the use of Parks, Reserves, Ovals and Sporting fields, and public thoroughfares “at all times”, to exercise their dogs on-leash? Is this why? Council files “responsible pet ownership” in their computer system under: “public-environmental-health/keeping-of-chickens/keeping-of-chickens/for-pet-owners/.....” Compare this with neighboring Shoalhaven Shire Council. You can read their document at THIS LINK There are a number of areas deemed “dog prohibited” to protect wildlife (shore-bird nesting sites). There are a number of Parks, Ovals and Sporting fields listed as “Leash-free areas” (about 25 in total). All other Parks, Reserves, Ovals and Sporting Fields and recreational areas are declared as dog “on-leash” areas. Only out of bounds when a sporting event is on. It is time Councillors repealed this draconian “Policy” and have Council show the respect for pet dogs and responsible dog owners in our community, that they justly deserve. Thank you, Robert Loftus

NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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