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Early engagement to understand animal nuisance issues

I love animals but I also know that sometimes they can cause issues for people, particularly in urban areas where houses are close together.

At the moment we’re asking for your feedback about animal nuisance issues that are top of mind for you. This could include the types of animals that cause nuisance (excluding dogs), the number of animals someone can have and where, and anything else you want to include.  

Why are we doing this? Your feedback will help Council staff when they draft the Keeping of Animals Bylaw. We’re not doing a formal consultation now – that will come later – but your views will be really useful in helping us shape the bylaw before we formally consult later in the year. 

It’s important that our staff understand the issues our communities face and what they want, so that these can be considered when they start working on the bylaw proposal.

Like all our bylaws, a lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to get us to this stage. This includes looking at all the animal nuisance complaints we’ve received over the years, to help us understand the frequency and type of complaints. 

It might surprise you to know that we’ve received 363 complaints related to animals (excluding dogs) in the past five years. Most of these are around roosters and chickens, followed by pigs, ducks and bees. Most of the complaints we get are about noise. We also get complaints about the smell and animals roaming.

There are agencies such as Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and SPCA (Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) that are focused on animal welfare and how they are kept but the purpose of our bylaw is to protect the public from animal nuisance, and protect, promote, and maintain public health and safety. 

The Keeping of Animals Bylaw includes rules to reduce or prevent animal nuisance and specifies areas where certain animals can be kept, such as bees, pigs, chickens, and roosters. Generally, rules in urban areas tend to be the most limiting, as the proximity of houses mean animals can cause more nuisance, and there are fewer rules in our lifestyle and rural areas. For the new bylaw, Council is considering using both property size and district plan zones to identify urban, lifestyle, and rural areas.

It’s important to note that the Keeping of Animals Bylaw does not apply to dogs. Rules for dogs are included in Council’s Dog Control Bylaw and Dog Control Policy.

You have until 31 March to give your feedback. After we’ve received your feedback, Council staff will analyse the information and use this to help shape the draft bylaw. Once the draft has been prepared we’ll then formally consult on the proposal and bylaw. This will happen in June and July.

A hearing will be held in September and this is where people who have made a submission can tell Councillors their thoughts. It’s at this time that Council will decide on final changes to the bylaw. At this point, Councillors can decide if they agree or disagree with the proposal and can make amendments.

We want to hear ideas early so these can be used to shape the proposed bylaw when it goes out for public consultation - so the best time to tell us your thoughts is now! This is your chance to tell us your views and what type of rules you want to see.

We know it’s something that many people feel passionate about so we’re expecting to hear lots of different views. Information about our early engagement went on our website on Tuesday morning and by midday Wednesday we had already received feedback from more than 100 people. This is great – it’s great to know people are engaged and it’s great to hear what you think!