Your Council

Draft Dog Control Policy

We invite your feedback on our recommended changes to the city's rules for dog control.

We're reviewing our current Dog Control Policy. The policy is a requirement under the Dog Control Act 1996. It explains Council's approach to dog control and guides internal operational policy and practice as well as how Council exercises discretion under the Dog Control Act 1996. A main feature of the policy is to describe where you can and cannot take your dog.

When the policy is adopted by Council it is given effect through the Dog Control Bylaw. This means the bylaw becomes the legal means for the Council to take enforcement action if required. Enforcing the bylaw is in addition to general enforcement powers under the Dog Control Act.

Last year we asked you whether the current policy and its associated bylaw adequately manage dogs in the city. Now we've reviewed your feedback, we've drafted a revised policy.

Have we got it right? Download the draft policy then fill in our online form to have your say. Submissions are open until 4pm on Friday 2 March.

Key changes to the policy

We're proposing some changes to the current dog control areas:

  • recategorising grass sportsfields as on-leash control areas when sports are not being played
  • allowing dogs on-leash in the central business district for a 12 month trial period
  • changing Aokautere walkways from dog exercise areas to dog on-leash areas

We've added new sections to the policy to:

  • explain the overall overall context for dog control and rationale for dog control areas
  • ensure the policy includes all of the sections required under the Dog Control Act 1996
  • clearly state the responsibilities of dog ownership. While this replicates the requirements set out in the Act, we believe it's worthwhile to reinforce these aspects as part of the policy review.

Tell us what you think by Friday 2 March

  1. Your contact details

  2. (if applicable)
  1. 1. Council’s approach to administration and enforcement

    The policy sets out how it links to the bylaw and what enforcement tools are available to Council. It explains Council’s approach to dog attacks and dangerous dogs, barking dogs, roaming dogs and dogs under proper control.

  1. 2. Explaining dog control areas

    The policy outlines the three different types of dog control areas in Palmerston North and explains the rationale for prohibited public places and dog exercise areas.

  1. 3. Proposal to recategorise grass sportsfields as on-leash control areas when sports are not being played

    At the moment all Council sportsfields are prohibited public places, where dogs are banned at all times. We are proposing that this category only applies when they are being used for organised sport, such as games, matches, tournaments or training. Outside of this, dogs will be allowed on grass sportsfields on a leash.

  2. Dogs will still be prohibited from all artificial sports surfaces such as tennis and netball courts and any specialist sports surfaces such as hockey turfs.

  1. 4. Proposal to allow dogs on-leash in the CBD for a 12-month trial period

    The central business district (CBD) or city centre is currently a prohibited public place. The Dog Control Policy defines the CBD as the area within the ring road formed by Grey, Princess, Ferguson and Pitt Streets (see map on page 22 of the policy). It includes The Square.

  1. 5. Proposal to change some Aokautere walkways from dog exercise areas to dog on-leash areas

    Poutoa walkway, Titoki walkway and Pari Reserve and walkway are currently dog exercise areas, where dogs do not have to be on a leash. However these places have become confined as they’ve developed over time. To address safety concerns, we propose changing these to dog on-leash areas.

  1. 6. Clarifying dog exercise areas

    We’ve added a new section to the policy to explain what dog exercise areas are and what dog owners’ obligations are when using these locations. It makes it clear that dogs must be exercised under proper control and dog owners must carry a leash.

  2. Apart from the section between the Holiday Park and the Fitzherbert Bridge, the Manawatū River shared pathway is a dog exercise area, where dogs can be walked off-leash.

  1. 7. New section about responsible dog ownership

    A new section in the policy makes it clear what we expect of responsible dog owners. This reflects the requirements set out in the Dog Control Act. A comment has also been added about the Animal Welfare (Dogs) Code of Welfare 2010.

  1. 8. New explanation of preferred dog owner scheme

    We’ve changed the wording to reflect Council’s current practices and information.

  1. 9. New information about emergency preparedness

    A new section highlights the onus on dog owners to plan and prepare for the care and welfare of their dog/s in anticipation of an emergency.

  1. ____________________________________________

  1. As required by the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987, all submissions will be regarded as publicly available, including their placement on the Council's website. You can request that your contact details (but not your name) be regarded as confidential by ticking the following box:

Timeline of the review process

We're now at the stage of calling for submissions on the draft policy.

  • December: Report to Council to seek approval to consult
  • Late January to March: Formal consultation period
  • April: Hearings
  • May to July: Deliberation and adoption of policy
  • August to September: Preparation of bylaw
  • October: Adoption of bylaw

More information

For more information about the draft Dog Control Policy, please contact Ann-Marie Mori, Policy Analyst, City Future: phone 06 356 8199 or email