PET owners are being asked to be responsible following complaints about dogs chasing coastal wildlife in the Illawarra.
Wollongong City Council’s Manager Regulation and Enforcement Jeannie Nicol said there are a number of off-leash areas that dog owners might use with their pets.
“These off-leash zones have been provided to enable dog owners and their pets to enjoy coastal areas, socialise with other owners and dogs and enjoy the amenity of the beach areas,” Ms Nicol said.
“Dogs are prohibited at all times in areas, such as all rock platforms, rock pools and ocean pools, to protect the environment,” Ms Nicol said.
The National Parks and Wildlife Serice (NPWS) is concerned about the impacts that some dogs are having on wildlife using coastal rock platforms. NPWS Illawarra Area Manager Chris Keyzer said the NPWS is investigating complaints that domestic pets are disturbing and chasing native shorebirds from rocky shoreline habitats along the Illawarra coastline.
“We’re particularly concerned about reports that dogs are harassing the Sooty Oystercatchers, which rely on rocky shorelines as feeding and roosting areas”, Mr Keyzer said.
“The Sooty Oystercatcher is a threatened native bird that uses rocky shorelines as its primary habitat. This species is highly vulnerable to disturbance by dogs and people should be aware that it is an offence to allow a dog to disturb or chase native wildlife.
“All coastal areas are randomly patrolled by Council rangers. Substantial penalties can be imposed for breaching rules regarding dogs in restricted areas and for dogs not under effective control,” Ms Nicol said.
For more information ring Council on (02) 4227 7111 or the NPWS Illawarra Area Office on (02) 4223 3000.