To: Lord Mayor Damon Thomas

Increase the Off-Lead Exercise areas for Dog Owners on the Hobart Rivulet Track

Increase the Off-Lead Exercise areas for Dog Owners on the Hobart Rivulet Track

Dear Lord Mayor,

As a rate paying and dog license paying resident I do not feel that the Hobart City Council is doing enough for dog owners, if anything more and more restrictions are being put in place and I ask the council to be more mindful of our rights and needs.

I ask the council to reconsider it's negative policy on dogs, dog owners and dog exercise areas.

Why is this important?

Following are some points I would like you to consider:

My dog remains in effective control regardless of whether it is on or off lead, I have spent many hours training her so that she behaves this way.

Blanket rules are being imposed on myself and other owners with similar well behaved animals by the council which is unjust on me and my animal.

The concerns for Bike riders, who have hundreds of kilometres of roads where they can ride their bikes, are being placed over dog owners when these riders come into areas where we can exercise our animals off-lead.

The Hobart Rivulet is an example. One of your council officers informed me that a current off-lead area is to be enclosed, further reducing our area of use, for the following reason:

"The recommendation within the Council’s Hobart Rivulet Park Strategic Master Plan is to make it a fenced dog exercise area to reduce the problem of combining dogs off lead with bikers and walkers."

I request that instead of restrictions being put in place that have a negative impact on our dogs, that the council require bike riders to slow down, or dismount and walk through this area of the rivulet track, or use another road.

In the Tara Street Development, where a children play area is proposed, I ask the council to consider fencing the child play area instead of our dog exercise area.

This would allow dog owners to continue to exercise their animals off lead. Parents could feel assured that their kids don't come into contact with dogs if that is their preference. Kids are also in a secure area and will be unable to walk down into the river where there is a genuine chance of injury or death, especially in winter when the river level rises and the water current is strong.

If bike riders are requested to ride slowly or dismount in this area this will also be safer for walkers and children.

Just like humans dogs require mental and physical exercise to be happy and healthy. By imposing more and more restrictions on where they can run and play the council is only increasing the risk of aggressive behaviour. Also, the council are only discouraging owners from exercising their dogs, as these restrictions make it harder to get to dog friendly areas.

These restrictions do not just apply to the Rivulet, beach access is also a clear example of how the councils policy is making it harder and harder for responsible dog owners. I ask the council to consider removing these restrictions so that dog owners can access the beach whenever they want to and let their dogs exercise off lead.

Please also consider places like France, Canada and the UK, where dogs are allowed everywhere. Buses, Trains, Cafes, parks, CBDs and so on. I ask you to question why we as a society are so intolerant towards dogs, when other developed nations are so very tolerant?

Can we implement Dog Green Card scheme here in Hobart? So instead of good owners being punished for bad owners mistakes, we are rewarded. This would encourage people to train their animals addressing the concern of other residents before the problem arises.

Finally in regards to people being bitten or confronted by aggressive dogs please consider that your restrictions are actually increasing the risk of this because people who don't own dogs are having less contact with them in everyday life. When they do then find themselves in company with a dog, they and especially their children, don't know how to interact with the animal. Usually this results in the dog being badly handled or treated and so reacts in self defence, the dog is not the aggressor in most cases, it is the human who is always nearly 100% at fault. An example of this is where I heard a mother tell her child to hit my dog on the nose if she came near her, possibly one of the worst things that a child could be told as noses are a very sensitive area on a dogs body and if a person hits them there it will hurt the animal and cause the dog to react in self defence to the pain caused. Fortunately the mother said to me "That's the right thing to do isn't it?" and I told her the reason why it wasn't and what her child could do instead.

How it will be delivered

I will arrange a meeting with the Lord Mayor to deliver the petition in person.