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Have your say on our district’s rules for keeping animals

After gathering feedback from the community on animal nuisance issues, Waikato District Council wants to know if you agree with the suggested changes in its proposed Keeping of Animals Bylaw.

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. Earlier this year Council asked for feedback through an early engagement online survey. Of the 306 responses received, a third of those had experienced animal-related nuisance, with cats and roosters accounting for 116 of the replies. Chickens, cows, and pigs also got a mention.

“People told us about concerns ranging from roaming or noisy animals, to instances of property damage and nuisance to humans or our precious native birds,” says Monitoring Team Leader, Tanya O'Shannessey.

“It’s important that our Bylaw considers those concerns but also recognises the important role that animals play for families and businesses in our district.”

This Bylaw does not apply to dogs. Rules for dogs are included in Council’s Dog Control Bylaw and Dog Control Policy.

Council staff have assessed the feedback from the online survey, alongside data taken from animal nuisance complaints over recent years. This analysis has resulted in four key suggested changes to the proposed Bylaw.

There are different rules for different areas and Proposal 1 looks at amending the definition of urban, lifestyle, and rural. This is to align with zones in the Proposed District Plan. All properties at or below 1,500m2 would also be defined as urban under the proposed Bylaw. Proposal 2 suggests a small addition to clarify that cats are not expected to be confined to a property’s boundaries, which would be impractical to enforce.

The other two key proposals look at where animals are housed. Proposal 3 suggests removing the restriction for poultry houses to be 10m from a building, while Proposal 4 recommends reducing the distance that beehives must be set back from boundaries in lifestyle and rural areas.

Another eight minor changes are included in the Statement of Proposal for the proposed Keeping of Animals Bylaw, which is available for review on Council’s website. The proposed Bylaw is open for feedback from Wednesday 26 June 2024, with consultation closing on Monday 29 July 2024.