HORSHAM council will reassess whether dogs should be allowed in the Horsham Botanic Gardens.
The council passed a motion at its ordinary meeting on November 25 which recommended that a survey was conducted to "seek community feedback for consideration of dog access in the garden".
It comes after Horsham council's Domestic Animal Management Advisory Group representative Mike Coffey sent a letter to the council's chief executive Sunil Bhalla requesting for the no dogs policy to be re-assessed.
"There have been expressions of disappointment for some local residents as well as visitors to the city. The visitors, particularly older travellers staying in the caravan park who may have dogs with them, are the most disappointed," Mr Coffey's letter read.
"Horsham has shown itself to be dog friendly. This is evidenced by the provision of off-lead parks and the recent addition of a fourth highlights the city's progressiveness.
"We encourage the council to allow dogs in the botanic gardens providing the dog is on a lead and it remains on existing pathways. This will mean dogs will not be allowed in the playground and picnic area."
In her report to the council, recreation and open space planning co-ordinator Stefanie Jones said other Victorian councils allowed dogs in their botanic gardens.
"Benchmarking shows that most councils and shires allow for dogs on-lead within their botanic gardens. Maintenance and upkeep would become a key issue if dogs are allowed on-lead in the gardens," Ms Jones' report said.
"Horsham Botanic Gardens has traditionally been a 'no dogs permitted' area. Signage was replaced in 2016 resulting in further community interest to re-assess the policy.
"After weighing up the pros and cons, a council resolution was passed in April 2016 to retain the 'no dogs' status in the gardens. Parks and Gardens and Community Safety Unit staff are not in favour of allowing dogs in the gardens."
Designated off-lead dog areas in Horsham city are located at Weir Park, Central Park, Lions Park, Jenkinson Reserve and Langlands Park.
At the council's meeting, Councillor Pam Clarke said she was concerned that not all dog owners would abide by the on-lead rule.
"If all dogs owners were responsible we wouldn't have to debate this. I live on the river and I see so many owners with their dogs off-lead. If we do allow this we need to police it," she said.
"I want to hear from the community. The botanic gardens is a beautiful place and needs to remain a safe space."
Cr Koenig said he was not a fan of the idea, but would support the survey.
"We have dog owners who think they have a friendly dog. Unless you can speak dog, you never know whether a dog could attack a person or another dog," he said.
"I'm a dog person and our dog stays on its lead unless we're at home. As long as it's policed I can come around, but I do have a concern."
The council passed a motion for a 28-day survey to be conducted in February 2020 to gauge desire for dogs in the Horsham Botanic Gardens.
The decision comes after a recent string of dog attacks in the city.
The council called for public witnesses in July after two seperate dog attacks in Horsham in less than 13 days.
In the first attack, a young girl and her father were walking two leashed dogs on Natimuk Road when another dog started attacking one of the leashed dogs. The injured dog was taken to a vet after the father intervened.
In the second attack a maltese shih tzu was mauled to death after two dogs entered the back of a Stewart Street property.
In May, a Horsham woman was made to pay more than $1000 to the council after her dog attacked another dog near the Wimmera River in 2018.
See Horsham council's full November agenda below
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