ORANGE City Council has warned dog owners they face hefty fines if they fail to pick up after their dogs and keep them on leashes in the city’s parks, sporting fields, footpaths and walking tracks.
Council’s companion animal committee member, councillor Neil Jones said not picking up after your dog was not acceptable and they must be on leashes unless in a designated leash-free zone.
“I appeal to dog owners to do the right thing, or potentially face heavy fines,” he said.
“The NSW government has authorised a $275 fine, which can be imposed if someone doesn’t immediately remove their dog’s poo in a public place.”
The warning comes after members of Orange District Football Association approached council about the continual misuse of Jack Brabham Park.
“The council shares the concern of the soccer association about the problems of dog owners misusing the sporting fields at Jack Brabham Park,” he said.
“Dogs can use that area but they must be on a leash at all times. The soccer association is also concerned about the potential health impact of dog poo being left behind on sporting fields.
“Every weekend there are children who scrape their knees while playing football, and while the health risk might be low, it’s only fair that dog owners do the right thing.
“It’s commonsense now that dog owners are expected to clean up after their dog. It’s as simple as carrying a plastic bag.
“People would be justifiably concerned if people were leaving litter or other waste behind after a picnic. It’s the same with responsible pet ownership.”
Mr Jones warned council rangers would be on the lookout for any breaches of regulations.
“The council rangers are already keeping an eye on Jack Brabham Park as they go about their regular patrols, and I hope dog-owners do the right thing,” he said.
“They have the power to issue warning notices and fine offenders for repeat offences.”
Mr Jones said Bloomfield Park was a popular alternative for a leash-free area.
He also confirmed council was investigating additional and more secure off-leash areas.
“Residents are invited to contact the Companion Animal Community Committee at council with their suggestions of parks or public open spaces that could be considered as suitable for an off leash area,” he said.