In response to community complaints over dog issues, Council’s Rangers will be staging a dog blitz throughout March.
“Dog issues make up the highest number of complaints Council receives from the community over a year,” said Robert Percival, Council’s Section Leader Compliance and Regulatory Enforcement. “Many are about dogs roaming unleashed in public places, being in places where dogs are prohibited and dogs defecating. People are probably unaware that they can face on-the-spot fines of up to $1760 for these offences.
“We would urge pet-owners to remember that, alongside the privilege of owning a dog, comes the responsibility imposed by law for the benefit of the community as a whole.”
As the Companion Animals Act is State Government legislation, it applies to land right across NSW including residential, coastal and farmland.
“A common misconception is that, if there is no sign saying dogs must be on lead, it is alright for them to be unleashed,” said Mr Percival.
“However, the Act clearly states that a dog in any public place must be leashed and under effective control, unless they are in a designated leash-free area. It is also the responsibility of the owner to clean up after pets in a public place, rather than leaving ‘doggy land mines’ for the unsuspecting public.”
Beaches are a common source of complaints from the public over dog-owners ignoring the rules. For this reason, the planned dog blitz will include patrols in the early morning and late evening.
Rangers will also be actively patrolling and taking action over illegal camping activities in these areas.
Similarly, compliance with parking regulations within school zones throughout the Coffs Harbour area will also be targeted during March.
“Speed and parking restrictions in school zones are in place to provide a safer environment near roads for our children,” added Mr Percival. “Penalties for offences detected in school zones are significantly higher than elsewhere and have associated demerit points to reflect the severity of the offence.
“The simple way to avoid penalties is to abide by the rules. If you don’t, the chances are you will get caught and receive a hefty fine.”