RUFF JUSTICE: Py the terrier belongs to Raelene Perkins, who is confused about signs in Duthie Park, where dog owners have been heavily fined for letting their pets off the leash.
RUFF JUSTICE: Py the terrier belongs to Raelene Perkins, who is confused about signs in Duthie Park, where dog owners have been heavily fined for letting their pets off the leash.

'It's a doggone council cash grab'

PY the Tenterfield Terrier is easily confused. And he can't read.

So when he's out for a walk with his owner Raelene Perkins, he has to rely on her to keep him out of trouble.

The problem for both of them is that, although Raelene can read, she says she's completely baffled by confusing signs in North Rockhampton's Duthie Park, where council local laws officers have been doling out $200 fines to dog owners just like her.

Five owners were stung for a total of $1000 inside 20 minutes the other day, for letting their dogs off the leash.

But Raelene says dog walkers have been letting their animals roam free in Duthie for years without problems. “The dog owners fined for not having their dogs on a leash are responsible owners, the dogs are well trained and are always well-behaved,” she said.

“The fines were issued close to the Thozet Road entrance where there is a sign saying dogs must be on a leash. However, further in the park there are two signs advising that the area is a leash-free zone from 5am to 8am and 4pm to 6pm.”

She said the signage was totally confusing for humans and dogs could easily stray over the invisible line while they were enjoying a bit of a run.

“My main problem is that I think this is just a cash grab. There's never been a problem before and I think to slap a $200 fine on someone without a warning is just plain crazy,” she said.

Council is unapologetic and said yesterday it would continue to fine owners who allowed their dogs off the leash in the park because there had been a demand for tougher action.

In a statement the authority said: “The boundary of Duthie Park marks the perimeter of the designated off-leash area and owners who allow their pet beyond this boundary without the pet being on both a leash and under control, will be fined.

“In response to community demands for a stronger stance on animal management, Rockhampton Regional Council has increased patrols across the region and is taking a zero tolerance approach to any breach of Local Laws. Council is also currently examining resources and approaches, that in the medium to long term, may result in improved signage and additional off-leash areas.”

I think to slap a $200 fine on someone without a warning is just plain crazy


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