Call for City of Wanneroo to limit off-leash dog parks

Clare McAlaney (Mindarie). Photo. Martin Kennealey. d482159b
Clare McAlaney (Mindarie). Photo. Martin Kennealey. d482159b

A MINDARIE dog owner is calling on the City of Wanneroo to limit the number of parks where dogs are permitted off the lead.

Clare McAlaney has created a petition asking the City to make off-leash parks the exception, not the norm, to create safer open spaces for residents and their pets.

Mrs McAlaney, who has had her rescue dog for a year, stressed that most owners were responsible but that dogs off their lead were often unpredictable.

Mrs McAlaney’s pet wears a bright yellow jacket with ‘Rescue Dog, Do Not Pet’ on it because he was previously abused and now becomes anxious around other four-legged friends.

“It looks like he is excited, but it is not that at all,” she said.

“If a dog runs up to him, even if friendly, he reacts boisterously, causing the other dog to growl, he takes that as aggression and reacts.

“Meanwhile, I am trying to hold onto 35 kg of dog.

“It saddens me someone abused our dog to the point that while he is not dangerous, he needs space, and can no longer run free.”

There are more than 21,800 registered dogs in the City and 350 parks where owners were allowed to let their dog off the lead.

Mrs McAlaney said about 4000 dogs were put down annually due to behavioural issues nationally and so without education of all residents, control was the only option, which was why more on-leash park space was needed.

“We are 100 per cent reliant on self regulation, and in a state with a high dog attack incidence, this council ought to look to other councils and learn,” she said.

“I was told by a councillor that to change it would be too upsetting for people who are used to it being this way.

“But with a growing population, change is needed, even if only minor.”

Mayor Tracey Roberts said Council had approved the installation of Dogs on Leash signs around playgrounds where complaints had been made about dogs affecting the use of the play spaces.

“The installed signs state ‘Dogs must be under control in this area’,” she said.

“As well as contributing to overall good health and wellbeing, off-leash exercise areas encourage owners to socialise their dogs, and promotes improved behaviour and less stress in dogs.

“Dogs must only be off leash if they are under control.”

Between January 1 and December 31, 2017, the City received 60 reports relating to off-leash dogs in residential areas and parks.

Mrs Roberts said occasionally there were issues when a dog is not under control and rushes at another dog or person.

“There are also issues with dogs digging in areas where people play sport but the biggest complaint is that dog owners do not clean up after their dogs,” she said.

Open spaces where dogs are prohibited:

Frederick J Stubbs Grove, Quinns Rocks;

Beach reserves, except designated areas;

Wanneroo Showgrounds; and

Kingsway Sporting Complex, where dogs can be exercised on a leash but prohibited on the netball courts.

Designated dog exercise areas:

Quinns Dog Beach, Quinns Rocks;

Yanchep Dog Beach, Yanchep;

Two Rocks Beach, Two Rocks – south of the southern groyne; and

Dog Exercise Area (fully fenced) at Kingsway Sporting Complex.