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Dogs and animal control

Responsible dog ownership

In this section

Council’s objective is to keep dogs as a positive part of people’s lives in Westland by adopting measures that minimise the problems caused by dogs while at the same time maintaining dog owner’s rights to enjoy recreational opportunities with their dogs.

Responsible Dog Ownership handbooks are available from Council’s Customer Service Desk.

Under the Council’s Dog Control Policy and Dog Control Bylaw, in conjunction with the Dog Control Act 1996, dog owners are required to:

  • Register any dog from three months of age and over.
  • Renew annual dog registration by 31 July to avoid late payment penalties.
  • Display current registration tag on dog’s collars.
  • Micro-chip all dogs (excluding working dogs and any dog first registered prior to 1 July 2006).
  • Apply to the Council for a licence to keep more than two dogs on an urban property.
  • Notify Council of any changes in postal address, physical location, contact numbers, and details of dogs being kept, as provided on the Dog Registration page.
  • Take all responsible steps to prevent your dog:
    • Causing a nuisance to any person by persistent barking or other undesireable behaviour.
    • Injuring, endangering or causing distress to any person
    • Injuring, endangering or causing distress to any stock, poultry, domestic animal or protected wildlife
    • Causing damage to another person’s property.
  • Every person in control of a dog in a public place (including an off-leash area) must carry a leash.
  • Be in control of dogs not confined to private property or dogs not contained when in a public place.
  • Maintain whistle, voice or electronic recall of dogs at approved off-leash areas.
  • Remove your dog’s faeces from any public place or other person’s property.
  • Dogs must be on a leash within the Hokitika Central Business District.

  • Approved off the leash areas (refer to the map below):
    • Hokitika Urban area:
      • Hokitika Beach South of Stafford Street to Sunset Point (beach only; excluding public walkway and open space inland of the rock seawall)
      • Hokitika Beach North of Stafford Street (daylight hours only; non-vegetated tidal areas seaward of mean high water springs (MHWS) only)
      • Wadeson Island and Riverbank East of State Highway 6 (excluding mown sportsfields and West Coast Wilderness Trail)
      • MacAndrew Square Gardens (alongside Hokitika Museum) · Bonar Drive Reserve
      • Robbins Park – Airport Drive
      • Prossers Bush
    • Outside of Hokitika Urban area:
      • all public places (including the shores of all beaches, rivers and lakes) are approved off-leash areas,
  • The following areas are not approved for off the leash:
    • Department of Conservation land (refer to DOC and relevant signage)
    • Mown sportsfields (dogs prohibited)
    • West Coast Wilderness Trail (on-leash area)
    • Areas within a 20m radius of children’s playgrounds (on-leash areas)
    • The non-urban ocean beach from the southern boundary of Hokitika Golf Club (Takutai) to Little Hou Hou Creek (Three Mile), during darkness or in the vegetated areas inland of mean high water springs (MHWS): on-leash area. This area is off-leash only during daylight hours, in the non-vegetated tidal area seaward of MHWS, in order to protect penguins and their habitat.
  • Be mindful of native wildlife at the beach and avoid allowing dogs to be off the leash above the high tide line, in dunes, and in areas of beach-side vegetation. Little Blue Penguins and other protected endangered species are known to inhabit and nest on foreshores across much of The West Coast, including our local environs here in Hokitika. The dog’s natural instincts on seeing, smelling or hearing a small creature may over-ride your abilities of voice control of them. 

Dogs must be microchipped and neutered if they are identified by the Council as menacing,  or as being entirely or predominantly of the following breeds (s 33A Dog Control Act 1996):
  • Brazilian Fila, 
  • Dogo Argentino, 
  • Japanese Tosa, 
  • Perro De Presa Canario and 
  • American Pit Bull Terrier Type