At last month’s council meeting, Joondalup councillors specified parks within the City where dogs were prohibited, restricted to being on a leash only or allowed off the leash if under control.
Under the previous animal local law, dogs were allowed in natural areas off the leash but according to a council document, it was ‘having an adverse effect on resident fauna’.
City officers recommended Craigie and Warwick open spaces, Lilburne Conservation Reserve, Hepburn Heights Conservation Area and Shepherds Bush Park become areas where dogs must be on a leash.
However, Cr Geoff Amphlett moved an amendment to prohibit dogs in Craigie Open Space, which is used in a breeding program for quenda (southern brown bandicoots).
‘What we’re trying to achieve can only be done by excluding dogs,’ he said.
Cr John Chester said research had shown the quenda were ‘breeding up very successfully’.
‘Sadly however, because of their size, they are no match for dogs off leashes.
‘Unfortunately we cannot guarantee 100 per cent compliance (with dogs on leads) and the safer option is to have the reserve under prohibition for dogs.’
Councillors Brian Corr and Philippa Taylor did not agree.
‘The problem seems to be there are dogs off the leash when they should be on a leash,’ Cr Corr said. ‘It seems unfair on those people (who put their dogs on a leash) to bring in a rule banning them totally.
‘Cr Chester said bandicoots were thriving in the area, as is with the current rule, even with dogs on the loose which shouldn’t be on the loose, so it doesn’t seem to be causing a problem.’
Cr Mike Norman also expressed reservations saying research had suggested feral cats would avoid areas with high levels of dog activity.
‘If we were to have dogs banned from the reserve, my concern is if one or more feral cats do get into this reserve, we could see a decline in the population of bandicoots,’ he said.
Chief executive Garry Hunt said a fence, ‘specifically designed to prevent feral cats from getting in’, surrounded the open space.
Mayor Troy Pickard said while there ‘may be some in the community that may be upset they won’t be able to recreate their dogs at Craigie Open Space’ the City needed to ‘put the integrity of the reserve first and foremost’.
‘I saw footage of a quenda that had been disembowelled and quite clearly it was not from a fox, it was from a dog and that’s evidence enough to me that people aren’t doing the right thing and (some are) allowing theirs dogs off the leash in the reserve,’ he said.
Mr Pickard also moved an amendment to prohibit dogs at Windermere Park, in Joondalup, during cheduled sporting activities booked through the City, to address concerns expressed by the sports clubs that use the reserve.
Parks prohibited to dogs under the previous animal local law will stay the same and all other public places under the City’s control or management, excluding road and street reserves, are specified as dog exercise areas where they can be off the leash if the owner has control.
City of Joondalup parks prohibited to dogs
Neil Hawkins, Central and Blue Lake parks in Joondalup, Central Node foreshore reserve and Mawson Park in Hillarys, MacDonald Reserve in Padbury, Heathridge Park, Percy Doyle Reserve in Duncraig, Tom Simpson Park in Mullaloo, foreshore reserve 47831 other than a 750m area south from the horse access path, foreshore reserve 42219 west of the coastal dual-use path and Craigie Open Space
Parks where dogs must be on a leash
Warwick Open Space, Lilburne Park Conservation Area in Duncraig, Hepburn Heights Conservation Area in Padbury, Shepherds Bush Park in Kingsley and on the coastal dual – use path that extends through foreshore reserve 47831 including the horse beach.