Dog owners are biting back against a proposal which could see dogs confined to leads along parts of the Taylor River.
Marlborough District Council are set to tighten bylaws around dogs roaming free.
The move would see pets put on a lead from The Quays, near Raupo café to the Burleigh Bridge.
A group of dog lovers have started a petition against the proposed bylaw changes.
Petition organiser Mia Yealands says it would be sad to reduce the size of the central off-leash dog park.
“We come here for the run, the water and the wide-open spaces.
“If it changed it would affect so many people.
“We don’t want this to happen.”
Mia reckons tensions between cyclists and dogs (and their owners) are to blame for the potential change in rules.
“Since council increased the footpath, there have been a lot more bikes and they go too fast.
“They [cyclists] treat it like a training path,” she says.
Animal Control contract manager Jane Robertson says the area is where they see the most conflict between different users
“We have had instances of uncontrolled dogs and also owners not cleaning up after their dogs in this area,” Jane says.
Other proposed changes in the draft bylaw include allowing dogs into Blenheim’s CBD if they are on a leash and under control and increasing the restricted area around playgrounds for dogs from three to ten metres.
Prohibiting dogs from Blenheim’s Pollard Park and Ward Beach, is also proposed.
“We want input from dog owners and the general public to make sure our policy and bylaw works for everyone in our region,” she says.
Following the consultation period hearings will take place in early December when submitters will have the opportunity to speak.
Mia says moving the areas where dogs can run off lead – down the Burleigh end of the Taylor River – would make it difficult for dog owners with mobility issues to exercise their companions.
“One of the concerns we have is there are a lot of elderly who would find the terrain difficult.
“Dogs are a part of the community, too,” she says.
“They help people, they’re good for your mental health.
Consultation on the Marlborough District Council Dog Control Policy and Bylaw is underway and will run for six weeks, closing at 5.00 pm on Monday 9 November.