DOG owners will face on-the-spot fines if they fail to keep their pet on a lead while walking, warns Bathurst Regional Council after complaints were made about dogs running unrestrained in the Boundary Road Reserve.
Bathurst Regional Council confirmed a complaint has been received about the area and said dog owners have responsibilities under The Companion Animals Act, which makes it an offence for a dog to be off leash anywhere in public (other than off leash park) which can result in $220 on the spot fine.
Nearby residents using the reserve say they are often confronted with dogs on the loose as they walk through the area, and say it’s both a safety risk as well as damaging undergrowth in the reserve, disturbing ground nesting birds and other native animals including kangaroos using the area as a refuge.
One resident, who declined to be identified, said some owners let the dog off the leash as a regular occurrence.
The woman said on occasion the dogs have chased kangaroos causing the joey to fall out of the mother’s pouch, which the dogs then attack.
Other times residents have asked dog owners to put their dog on a lead, and said the owners ‘just stare at them’. They’ve also contacted the owners from details on the dog’s collars only to be told “it’s okay, we know they are over there”.
“These dogs were chasing the kangaroos everywhere but the owner didn’t care,” they said.
The residents said Bathurst Regional Council had placed signs at all entrances of the reserve, but people appeared to be ignoring them.
To try to assist with education about the area, Boundary Park Reserve Landcare Group is organising a letterbox drop reminding dog owners of their responsibilities.
A spokesperson for the group said the area is a refuge for kangaroos as well as other wildlife.
Mayor of Bathurst, Graeme Hanger said signs have been placed near the entrance points to remind owners to keep their dogs on a leash.
“If people are encountering dogs off leash, they should call council,” he said.