Dog lovers state their case

DOG owners who have been fined thousands of dollars for allowing their pooches off the leash in a Rockhampton park hope they can talk the council into rethinking the policy.

Councillors Graeme Brady and Tony Williams met 34 owners in Duthie Park to listen to their concerns about a crackdown that has punished dog walkers with $200 fines for allowing their pets to roam free.

The tough stance is a response to a big increase in the number of dog attacks in Rockhampton in recent weeks. But the people who give their dogs a run in the North Rocky park say the wrong people are being stung.

After the meeting, Cr Brady said he was prepared to talk to his colleagues. “It was a really good meeting and there are a couple of points I will take to the council on their behalf.

“They are disappointed about what has happened, but they accept the fines and they will stand. But they put forward ideas they believe will improve things for everyone.”

He said most of the 34 who attended the meeting took their dogs with them. “They were very well behaved.”

One of the protesters, Elizabeth Richards, said the owners had asked for an extension of the area in the park where dogs could have a run. They also wanted an extension in the hours when unleashed dogs were allowed.

“I think we managed to show the councillors that we have a genuine grievance. Many of us have been taking our dogs in Duthie for many years without a problem.

“I wasn't fined myself, but my friends were and it was a huge shock to be hit for $200 without any warning.”

She said most people who let pets run had them under full control.

“It's not the people who take their dogs for walks who are the problem; it's those who just let their animals roam,” she said.

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