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East Gippsland introduces dog off-leash areas before Christmas
East Gippsland Shire Council has decided that dogs will be allowed off-leash in many areas across the shire with the new arrangement to be trialled for six months coming into effect on 17th December 2019.
The decision by the Council at its November meeting was the culmination of extensive work in relation to dogs in public places laws in other municipalities and consultation with a volunteer reference group formed for the project.
While dogs will still need to be on-leash in built up areas, there will be greater freedom for responsible pet owners to walk their dogs off-leash in Council managed parks, reserves and outside of towns.
Dogs will still need to be on-leash when near playgrounds, barbecue areas, on shared paths as well as when activities are on, such as markets, sports games or training sessions. This allows these open spaces to be shared by all.
Mayor Cr John White advised that Council-managed foreshores and beaches will remain on-leash at this stage.
“Council understands many people enjoy walking their dogs near water. We have chosen to keep these as on-leash areas, but we will review these areas and some may be deemed suitable as off-leash areas in the future.”
Existing restrictions of dogs in national parks and similar reserves managed by Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning remain.
Council’s General Manager Place and Community Stuart McConnell said owners remain responsible for their dogs and it is important that their dogs are under effective control at all times.
“Information from the Victorian Government indicates that most dog attacks, around 80%, occur when dogs are not securely confined to their property or are wandering at large and without their owners, rather than when they are out walking.
McConnell added that “An initial review of council’s data shows similar results. So, it is important that dogs are contained with secure fencing when at home.
“Before going off-leash, it is important for owners to acknowledge both their own and their dog’s limitations. If your dog isn’t trained to come back when you call it, it is not under effective control and should stay on a leash.
All current law controlling dogs in a public place will still apply, including dogs at large or not securely confined to premises; dog rushes or attacks; and not picking up dog litter and disposing of it properly.
McConnell noted the off-leash sites already declared on Palmers Road, Lakes Entrance, and Bosworth Road, Bairnsdale, will be available in December.
22nd March 2019 - Dogs welcomed into New Zealand’s public pools as season closure looms
8th February 2017 - Parks Week to highlight the value of parks and open spaces
6th February 2017 - Well behaved dogs welcome on many Auckland beaches
27th June 2008 - Parks Forum highlights value of parks
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