Council to investigate off-leash dog parks

Latrobe City Council will establish a working group to assess the viability of fenced off dog parks in the Latrobe Valley.

It comes after a petition calling on council to establish fenced off dog parks gained more than 2600 signatures.

The working group will consult with community members and interested groups along with other authorities and agencies to compile recommendations by late June, 2018.

Petition organiser Geraldine McClure said she had visited a number of “positive examples” of fenced off dog parks in other parts of Australia.

“I visited one in Mt Gambier and it was a good example of one that works really well,” she said.

“There were two [fenced off dog parks] side by side, one that is recommended for smaller dogs… and one that is recommended for larger dogs.

“There were poo bags and water bowls, they had different terrains, including grassy, sandy and bark chip bits.

“And there was a whole heap of simple play equipment, old tyres, old cement panels, which I’m sure are recycled from somewhere, wooden things in a triangle to jump over.”

Ms McClure said she wished to allay common fears surrounding fenced off dog parks.

“The main concern was dogs being left unsupervised, or aggressive dogs being present without proper management from their owners,” she said

“There were several suggestions from community members in the petition to manage this.”

Ms McClure said these suggestions included having access restricted by users paying a small membership fee and having the park patrolled by council personnel at certain times.

“People ask, ‘what about aggressive dogs being left unsupervised?’. That was the biggest issue, but responsible owners deal with it immediately,” she said.

“And it is easy to see if someone else is approaching through the gate, so you are more aware of others coming in.”

Ms McClure said there were many benefits to establishing fenced off dog parks.

“They bring an element of safety for dogs, [so] they can’t get away, safety for motorists, dogs chasing cars, for pedestrians as well,” she said.