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Raising concerns ... Wendy Joy Baker, of the Catlins, discovered the faded sign to her left while visiting Timaru. The sign about dogs was one of several she says should be improved.PHOTO: ALEXIA JOHNSTON

by Alexia Johnston

Faded and defaced signs relating to Timaru’s dog bylaws have prompted a visitor to take her concerns to the district council.
Wendy Joy Baker, of the Catlins, was in Timaru for the South Island Masters Games last week when she discovered the sigs, one of which she believed had faded, and another marked with graffiti.
Miss Baker has been to the Timaru District Council and voiced her concerns.
One of the signs she was most worried about states “dogs permitted”, followed by a large blank space. Miss Baker believed other writing had faded.
“Signage needs to be [available] for people coming from out of town so they know what the designation is for dog control, and it needs to be clear so everyone knows, please,” she said.
TDC environmental services manager Paul Cooper said the area to which the faded sign related, next to Timaru’s lighthouse, was open to dogs on a lead.
“I’m here for the masters games and I was concerned because a dog ran up to me in this vicinity and it obviously wasn’t controlled,” Miss Baker said.
Dog bylaws were something she has had an interest in “for a long time”, particularly since she was bitten by a blue heeler while out running in 2011.
“I’ve done a lot of research about dog control because I’m concerned,” she said.
ACC figures showed that from 2010 to 2015 there had been 74,229 injuries from dog bites nationally, she said.

Room for improvement ... One of the defaced signs related to dog bylaws in Timaru. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Room for improvement … One of the defaced signs related to dog bylaws in Timaru. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

“I know those [figures] off by heart because I’m so passionate about seeing improved dog control.
“There needs to be signage and dog owners just need to be more responsible, please.”
While waiting for her cross-country masters games event to start in Timaru’s Centennial Park, Miss Baker watched two dogs, which were not on leads, near a playground.
She also raised those concerns with the district council.
She said while the Dog Control Act stated a lead needed to be carried by owners, some dogs she saw while at Centennial Park did not even have a collar, which made her wonder how a lead could be attached.
Mr Cooper said Centennial Park was a dog exercise area under the bylaw.
Anyone caught not adhering to dog bylaws could incur a fee of $100 to $750 depending on the offence.
Mr Cooper said infringement fines were “reasonably common, with several hundred written” each year.
“Dog control within the district is in good order when compared to many other areas in New Zealand, but we are always looking at ways to improve.”