Responsible Dog Owners

We’re big fans of responsible dog owners and we now have a special status just for them. The new ‘Responsible Dog Owner Status’ means MDC will reward those owners with a discount on registration costs if they meet certain criteria. Take a look at our factsheet for more information.


Dog Owner Responsibilities


As a dog owner, you have a number of responsibilities. You must:

  • Register your dog.
  • Keep your dog under control at all times.
  • Dogs must be on a leash in urban areas.
  • Carry a leash when you are in rural areas.
  • Ensure your dog receives proper care, food, water, shelter and exercise.
  • Clean up after your dog in public areas.
  • Make sure your dog does not injure, endanger, intimidate or distress anyone.
  • Accept liability for any damage your dog does.
  • Muzzle your dog in public if it is known to be aggressive.
  • Comply with the Council’s bylaws.


Dog owners are required to remove dog faeces from public places. Failure to do so could result in an infringement notice being issued to the value of $300.

Dog Exercise Areas

Dogs are required to be on leashes at all times within the urban area and aren’t allowed in children’s play areas or the aviary in Queen Elizabeth Park.

Areas where dogs are permitted on a hand-held leash (Or in a vehicle):

  • Areas zoned urban in the District Plan, outside the dog prohibited area.
  • Any area developed or marked out as a sports field during sporting events, or any outdoor court, skateboard park or cycle park.
  • The coastal settlement of Riversdale and Castlepoint between 20 December and 31 January.
  • Northern end of Riversdale Beach (north of the estuary).
  • Southern Reserve at Riversdale Beach.
  • Far end of the reef at Castlepoint Beach, by the area known as ‘the gap’.
  • Signposted areas of Henley Lake between 1 August and 30 November.


Dogs can be exercised at large in the following areas:

  • Henley Lake – all areas controlled by the Henley Lake Management Plan with the exception of leash restrictions imposed between 1 August and 30 November in signposted areas to protect breeding birds.
  • Lansdowne Recreation Trail (including Ngāti te Korou Reserve).
  • Waipoua River banks up to and including top of the stopbank.
  • Waingawa Northern River Bank and South Road from the intersection with Manaia Road South.
  • Castlepoint Beach beach-front north of DOC reserve (also known as the Basin), excluding the far end of the reef where birds breed (by the area known as ‘the gap’) and the period between 20 December and 31 January*.
  • Riversdale Beach beach-front (excluding the northern end and Southern Reserve where birds breed) except between 20 December and 31 January*.
  • Ruamāhunga River bank, town side north of Te Ore Ore Road bridge, including Percy’s Reserve.
  • Renall Street Railway reserve.
    * This period is excluded due to increased population over the holiday period.


A microchip carries a number unique to your dog that works in a similar way to a supermarket bar-code. It is a transponder that responds to a scanner, it is not a transmitter and has no power source. It is about the size of a grain of rice and is implanted under the animal’s skin between the shoulder blades. This is a simple procedure just like a vaccination.


Which dogs are legally required to be microchipped?

All dogs registered for the first time, except working farm dogs must be microchipped.

  • Also dogs that :
    Have been classified as dangerous or menacing
    Are unregistered and get impounded
    Are registered and get impounded twice

A new puppy or dog registered for the first time (except working farm dogs) must be microchipped within 2 months of first registration.

A dog that has been classified as dangerous or menacing must be microchipped within 2 months of being classified.  This is a legal requirement of the Dog Control Act 1996.


What are the benefits of microchipping?

If your dog is lost, stolen or has escaped and strayed, it can easily be identified. If your dog is stolen, there is nowhere in New Zealand where it cannot be traced if it is scanned.

Our animal services staff can microchip your dog – contact us to make an appointment.

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