Rockhampton Regional Councillor Graeme Brady met with outraged dog owners at Duthie Park yesterday.
Rockhampton Regional Councillor Graeme Brady met with outraged dog owners at Duthie Park yesterday. Megan Lewis

City blitz a dog of an act: owners

ANGRY dog owners met with councillors yesterday to complain about a costly crackdown on unleashed pets.

They gathered in Duthie Park, where owners have been letting their dogs run free for decades, but where local law officers have been raking in thousands of dollars in fines.

Councillor Graeme Brady met about 30 owners to hear pleas for a rethink in council policy that is ruining “walkies” all over the city.

Elizabeth Richards, of North Rockhampton, is one of the owners hit with a $200 fine for letting her pet off the leash in Duthie Park.

“It came completely out of the blue. I've been using the park for four years with no problem,” she said.

“We understand that there are a lot of concerns at the moment about dog attacks, but fining responsible owners who take their dogs out walking in a public park is not going to address that problem.

“The council is not targeting the right people.”

She said her dog was always under her control, whether it was on the lead or not.

“It went to dog obedience classes and always walks right by my side. But it is good for the dog to be off the lead occasionally and there are so few places in Rockhampton where they can have a bit of freedom,” she said.

“There should be a large area in the park where dogs can be off the lead.”

Cr Brady said he had received letters and emails from disgruntled dog owners over the issue and was happy to meet with them to listen to their grievances.

He said he would consider all the points they made.

Dog owners have reacted strongly to the crackdown which has seen local law officers issuing on-the-spot $200 fines in locations all over the city, including Kershaw Gardens and the heritage cemetery on the south side as well as on a number of streets.

Cr Williams, chairman of the council's Health and Regulatory Services Committee, said earlier this week that pet owners had to be responsible for their animal's actions and behaviour at all times.

There had been 40 attacks in September and resources had been redirected from routine patrols to counteract the problem.

The council said pet owners had a legal and moral responsibility to ensure they registered their dogs, provide an adequate enclosure and that their dog was not a nuisance or danger to the community.

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