Mind your manners: Responsible dog ownership in Wingecarribee Shire’s public places

16 November, 2012Posted in: Community

With the warmer months now upon us, many people are out enjoying the great outdoors with their families and pets. While there are many great places to take your canine companion in the Wingecarribee Shire, Council would like to remind dog owners of their responsibilities when out and about with their pet in public.

Anti-social pet and owner behaviour impacts on the wider community and Council has implemented new signage to clarify the laws that owners must abide by in public places. To date, the signage has been erected at Lake Alexandra in Mittagong, Cherry Tree Walk in Bowral and Bong Bong Common between Moss Vale and Bowral, with more to be installed across various parks and public areas.

The signs are based on universal symbols and warn users of public areas that dogs must be on a leash at all times, be under effective control, and that owners must clean up after their dogs.

These issues have raised community concerns, and dogs off the leash are often reported as being a nuisance for the majority of responsible dog owners who do the right thing. Aggressive animal behaviour is also an issue, with 124 reported dog attacks in the Shire in the past financial year alone.

In an effort to reduce the number of dog attacks, Wingecarribee Shire Council Rangers are currently taking an educational approach with owners by providing them with information and cautions where appropriate. This unofficial “warning period” will extend until 1 January 2013, when a zero tolerance approach will be applied wherever signs are displayed. Penalty notices carry a fine of up to $550.

There are three off leash areas in the Southern Highlands where owners can take their dogs for exercise and to socialise, although they must still be under effective control. These areas are located in Mittagong, Bowral and Moss Vale.

Wingecarribee Shire Council encourages all dog owners to take advantage of our fantastic walking tracks, parks and reserves with their four-legged friends in a responsible way.

For more information on responsible pet ownership please visit the Wingecarribee Shire Council website at www.wsc.nsw.gov.au or phone Council’s Environmental Assessment Manager on phone 4868 0888.