03 May 2011

Manly's dog owners fight new bans

AUSTRALIA - Manly Council's new rules on walking dogs in Manly Cove have drawn heavy criticism from dog owners, who say the controversial decision was made without consultation and that their rights have been infringed.

The rules were introduced in March in an effort to provide better protection for the area's little penguins. The council had voted unanimously in December to enforce a "zero-tolerance approach" for any dog owners caught with their pets off-leash in on-leash areas, and for dogs to be banned from the steps up to Federation Point. It was also decided that other penguin protection measures, such as the installation of CCTV cameras, would be put in place.

Local dog owners say that they want the penguins protected as much as anyone, but that the council introduced the "draconian" rules without consultation.

Manly resident and dog owner Lloyd Keen told The Manly Daily that the group of dog owners was asking for the plans to be revoked until the wider community had the chance to comment.

"We understand the need to look after the penguins but no one’s really thought this through," he said.

"Most people with dogs do all the right things. Once Manly Council gets (the rules) right, then it needs to enforce them because at the moment it doesn’t."

The Manly Daily reported that the dog owners want leashed dogs to be allowed back on Federation Steps, and unleased dogs to be allowed on the Manly Scenic Walkway near Federation Point.

Manly Mayor Jean Hay has indicated that some of the dog bans may be overturned, telling The Manly Daily that leashed dogs should again be allowed onto Federation Steps. She said banning dogs from the steps "is taking away people’s rights".

"Let’s face it, the area belongs to everyone," she said.

Read previous post: "Intensive" program to protect Manly's penguins

Dog walkers fight bans by Peter Bodkin, 22 April 2011, The Manly Daily
Penguin protectors clash with dog lovers by Peter Bodkin, 13 April 2011, The Manly Daily
Dog owners growl over penguins by Peter Bodkin, 11 April 2011, The Manly Daily
Dog ban leads to outraged dog owners by Peter Bodkin, 5 April 2011, The Manly Daily

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