Ascot: Fine threat for owners of dogs that run free in Garvey Park

Stock photo of dogs in park
Stock photo of dogs in park

DOG walkers are on notice to keep pets on a lead in the Garvey Park area with council rangers given licence to fine owners of unleashed dogs.

That order was among several decreed by Belmont City Council last night Feb 26 to protect birdlife in the environmentally sensitive area of the swamplands, and came on the back of claims made by an avid birdwatcher that dogs had killed multiple birds on a tiny island in the river between Ascot and Ashfield.

Rangers will step up their presence in Garvey Park and dogs will be banned from the island – Ron Courtney Island – as part of the changes ratified by the council last night.

Some councillors expressed concerns they might be “jumping at shadows” in taking such a strong stance, especially as Belmont chief executive John Christie confirmed no official reports about bird deaths had been made to the council.

“All we have is basically one person making a claim, there’s a fair lack of evidence,” Cr Steve Wolff said.

Cr Jenny Davis pushed for the enforcement actions and a community awareness campaign after liaising with Bayswater birdwatcher, Peter Melling, who she described as an avid enthusiast who worked nights so he could pursue his passion in daylight hours.

“I don’t think he’s going to lie to me about birds being killed and where they are being killed,” she said.

“He has personally witnessed 15 attacks since 2018 and has sent pictures of dead birds caused by unleashed dogs.”

The council voted 6-3 in support of the changes, which include erecting new signs in Garvey Park to remind users of the dog-walking rules.

Belmont has 25 parks and reserves where dogs can be exercised off-leash, including Selby Park and Parkview Chase in Redcliffe.