It is not OK to let your dogs chase wildlife

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A swamp wallaby joey is being cared for by WIRES volunteers after being rescued from dogs at the beach at Suffolk Park last weekend.

Council’s staff were called by a local resident, Jaz, who was walking her dog on the beach, and rescued the joey after watching it being chased into the water by two dogs.

“Jaz scooped up the exhausted joey in a towel with the dogs still trying to attack it, and all in front of the dogs’ owner,” Sarah Nagel, Council’s Manager Public and Environmental Services, said.

“Our staff then called WIRES and from all reports the joey is recovering well,” Ms Nagel said.

“The area where the attack happened is an off-leash dog area but that gives owners no right to let their animals chase or harass wildlife, other dogs, or people – they must be able to control their animals.

“We are very thankful to Jaz and WIRES for saving and caring for the joey and it’s a reminder to dog owners to please do the right thing and keep their pets under control whenever they are in a public area,” Ms Nagel said.

Council’s Enforcement team is now focusing on dogs being off lead in Mullumbimby, Brunswick Heads and Byron Bay with fines being given to people who don’t have their dogs on leads.

Work has also started on a Dogs in Public Spaces Strategy. This will focus on resolving the issues and challenges of managing dogs in public spaces in the Byron Shire.

“We launched a survey two weeks ago and we have had almost 900 responses which is a clear indication that dogs are a big issue in our shire,” Ms Nagel said.

“Our public spaces need to be safe for everyone and some dog owners need to realise that not everyone likes or is comfortable around dogs,” she said.

People can do the Dogs in Public Spaces survey on Council’s Your Say Byron Shire website.

The survey will close on Monday 13 December.

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