Trial "set up for failure"

A Swan Hill resident believes off-leash dog area trial sites are "set up for failure" because they aren't fenced areas. 

New off-leash dog areas come with rules as four trial sites are launched in Lake Boga, Robinvale and Swan Hill. Picture supplied.

New off-leash dog areas come with rules as four trial sites are launched in Lake Boga, Robinvale and Swan Hill. Picture supplied.

Part of a two-year trial, the off leash areas are located at Tower Hill and Palaroo Street in Swan Hill, Centenary Park in Robinvale and the Lake Boga sporting complex.

Cam Langley, who has led a chorus of dog owners in pushing for an off-leash dog area in Swan Hill, said it was set up for failure because they were not fenced areas. 

"The trial doesn't fit the purpose," he said.

"Without fencing, there are concerns of injuries to pets and also traffic problems because pets will be running into traffic.

"I think one accident is more expensive than a fence in my opinion.

"How can you gauge demand when people will not exercise dogs off lead in an unleashed area? Trialling a different product to the final offering required is wasting everybody's time and money."

Swan Hill Rural City Council has established rigorous rules for all four locations, including owners being within voice and hand control of dogs at all times.

Owners will also need to keep dogs on a leash if it doesn't respond to commands. 

"At the moment we are asked to test drive a car without wheels and give an opinion on it — I don't think too many will be out there driving that one," Mr Langley said. 

"Temporary fencing was going to cost $20,000 to $30,000, but at the same time something could be more temporary erected elsewhere.

"Dog registrations are being paid, we aren't paying for bicycle registrations for bike paths in the shire.

"We are calling for security fencing, both for the community safety and their pets." 

To read more about this story, grab a copy of Wednesday's Guardian (December 20).

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