Thank you to everyone who contributed to our early engagement.

Here are the main themes we heard from our free text feedback:

Key themes from free text feedback - statistics provided in alternative description for screen readers in next image below

Contributors either value or would like to see more wide-open spaces to exercise their dogs off leash for the health and wellbeing of both dogs and their owners. It was also raised that having more off leash areas would reduce congestion and potential issues in the current popular areas.

Contributors valued on leash ranges for a range of reasons. Some felt that this was a good compromise for allowing dogs in certain spaces but minimising nuisance for others or conservation concerns. Others had reactive or nervous dogs and valued being able to walk without the risk of other dogs coming too close.

The bulk of conservation concerns were in coastal areas where bird nesting and feeding sites were more prominent. Penguins were noted several times, with an observation from some that dog friendly hours often coincided with hours that penguins are travelling to or from their burrows and into the sea. Several dog owners expressed a concern for conservation and bird wellbeing. However, there was also a sentiment that dogs are an easy target to blame for species decline, when there are other factors at play such as human interference, quad bikes and other vehicles on beaches, other predator species, seal predation, pollution etc.

The valuing of dog free spaces usually occurred alongside conservation concerns, with some contributors advocating for a blanket ban in sensitive areas. Other suggestions of this nature were more motivated by a dislike for dogs in public places or safety concerns.

Several requests for dog parks were made across the region. These were most commonly in the Richmond/Appleby area, Motueka/Kaiteriteri area or Golden Bay. Contributors advocated for a simple and cost-effective approach, fencing off already suitable areas. There were several requests that dog parks be divided into areas for small and big dogs, as small dogs are often intimidated by the rough play of some larger dogs, at risk of being knocked over etc.

Contributors had positive experiences to share in terms of observing well trained and behaved dogs who were friendly and had good recall. Owners were also praised for cleaning up after their dogs and not allowing them to bother either other people or wildlife. There was also a sentiment that most dog owners were doing a good job but there were a few that were letting down the majority.

A pet peeve for both dog owners and non-dog owners alike was when dog waste was not cleaned up and taken away. This was at times aligned with a contribution advocating for a space to be made dog free.

There was advocacy for more education for dog owners about training and socializing their dogs effectively, as well as the impacts of dogs on sensitive wildlife areas. Additionally, there were requests for signage and rules be simple and clearly displayed.

There were references to off leash areas being interpreted by owners as area where dogs can run free, however, there was concern that many of the dogs running free were not under voice control. Concerns were raised about dogs rushing, jumping up or displaying other behaviours that were considered intimidating or a nuisance to other dogs or people. Some complaints suggested that owners might be calling out that their dog is friendly, without the consideration that the dog they were approaching may not be friendly, or whether the other person was comfortable having a dog in their personal space.

There were requests for a stronger enforcement presence from the Council and for penalties to be a stronger deterrent for infringements. This was more prevalent in feedback around dog free spaces and owners not picking up dog waste.

Frustrations were expressed that some dog owners are either unaware of or ignore the rules in some areas. This was a frustration for dog owners and non-dog owners alike. This theme was commonly seen alongside requests for more enforcement.

Dog owners expressed the importance of dog friendly or off leash spaces for supporting social connection in the community. Having places where both dogs and their owners could exercise was considered an important factor in both mental and physical health and wellbeing.

Contributors were concerned about the level of division in their community, particularly in Kaiteriteri and surrounds. Several posts mentioned misinformation being an issue in their community. Both dog owners and bird advocates shared experiences of aggression from one another. Several dog owners also identified as bird advocates and hoped that a balance between the different interests could be struck.

Contributors raised concerns that not having enough off leash areas where dogs could interact and display natural behaviours can lead to dogs not being well socialized and displaying more problematic behaviours. Encompassed within this theme is also the concern that dogs who are not able to get enough exercise are more likely to cause nuisance issues such as barking while they are at home.

Contributors raised concerns around the safety of the public in dog friendly areas, with particular reference to the safety of children. This was generally accompanied with sentiments around owners lacking control.

At times this theme was correlated with frustration at some owners not cleaning up after their dogs, although this was not always the case. The provision of these is something that is valued by contributors, along with a desire to see more in popular walking areas.

Locations for Dog Exercising under current bylaw

  • Where you can exercise your dog OFF the leash (Controlled Dog Exercise Areas - green areas)
  • Where you can only exercise your dog ON the leash (Leash Controlled Areas - blue areas)
  • Where you can't exercise your dog (Dogs Prohibited at all times - red areas)
  • Where you can sometimes exercise your dog (Dogs Prohibited in Summer or other times - purple areas)

See our website for more detail: Exercising your dog | Tasman District Council

We heard your concerns that the dog exercise social map was being 'spammed', with some contributors dropping multiple pins in the same location. We want to assure the community that this was easily identifiable for our GIS team, and we know which areas results we need to take with a grain of salt.

The social mapping exercise was one tool in this process and the results are not a binding referendum. Councillors will be considering feedback from a range of sources and stakeholders as this bylaw is reviewed.