Survey response sees Botanic Gardens remain dog free

Survey response sees Botanic Gardens remain dog free

Horsham Botanic Gardens will remain a dog-free zone after a month-long survey was presented at Horsham Rural City Council’s June Meeting on Monday night.

HRCC received 419 responses to the survey which asked whether dogs should be allowed ‘on lead’ and ‘on path’ in the gardens.

The no-dog policy was reassessed after a community member, with the support of the Domestic Animal Advisory Committee, requested the rules be examined.

Councillors considered the survey responses and on Monday night, resolved that in-line with the balance of survey responses, dogs should not be allowed on lead or on paths in the garden for the foreseeable future. A request for more explanatory and visitor friendly signage to convey this was also made.

Two key questions in the survey asked respondents to agree or disagree with the statements ‘dogs should be allowed ‘on lead and on paths’ in the Botanic Gardens in Horsham’ and ‘dogs should not be allowed in the Botanic Gardens in Horsham’. In both question scenarios, the responses weighed in favour of dogs not being allowed in the gardens.

The survey also asked for respondents to include statements to explain their position.

Arguments for allowing dogs in the Botanic Gardens included:

  • We take our dogs everywhere, why not the gardens?
  • It’s a good, safe place for small dogs, as opposed to off leash dog parks
  • It encourages people to get out and exercise

Arguments for not allowing dogs in the Botanic Gardens included:

  • How do you manage dogs/owners who don’t follow the ‘on leash, on path’ rule, who will police it?
  • The Botanic Gardens playground is the only place in Horsham parents can take their children where there are no dogs present
  • Dogs are allowed everywhere else

Advice from Council staff who maintain the amenity and safety of the Botanic Gardens was also sought and presented to Council.

Mayor Mark Radford said it was a positive example of Council engaging with the community.

“The survey was conducted during February and March and we thank all those who offered their comments in the survey,” Cr Radford said.

In addition to the many on-lead walking trails across Horsham, Council also has designated off-leash dog areas for visitors and residents at the following locations: Weir Park, Central Park, Lions Park, Jenkinson Reserve and Langlands Park.

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