Note this was written from the perspective on an average sized white male in his 40’s, you may need different tactics. The number one rule here is to never put yourself in danger.
Scenario 1. The dog is off-lead and there are threatened breeding birds in the area.
Chase after the dog. This shows the owners that something is really wrong, especially if you don’t look like the kind of person who likes to run. In my experience the dog usually returns to the owner, you can then have an (out of breath) conversation about why it’s important not to have dogs in the area.
Scenario 2. The dog is on a lead, there are no threatened breeding birds in the area.
Introduce yourself to the dog owners like you are an old friend. Be warm and in their face. This shows you are not somebody to be ignored but also not threatening. I like to shake their hand and tell them what I do here, my name, I also ask for theirs. Kindy explain to them that they must have missed the no dogs sign and send them back the way they came. It’s a good idea to walk with them as this shows how serious you are. Asking them about their dog(s) helps you come across as relatable, it’s also useful to find out if they are a local.
Scenario 3. Dealing with repeat offenders.
I have actually never had this problem but I received this advice from Auckland Council after having an argument with a local who was determined he was allowed to walk his dog somewhere where he was not.
1. Record the offenders details.
- Ideally you already have their name from Scenario 2, if not ask for it again in a friendly way and apologies for forgetting.
- Get a description of the dog (its breed, colour, sex, size etc and a description of the collar).
- If the dog is not with its owner and it is safe to do so you might be able to get its tag details, for this you want the tag number and expiry date.
- You might be able to get a photo of the owner or dog.
- You might also be able to follow them to their car or house to record a license plate or address – but never put yourself in danger.
2. Report the details to Auckland Council (09) 301 0101 with the time, date and location. You will also need to report your contact details.
If Council officers are able to locate the owner an infringement may be issued. Keep a record of the incident for yourself. If there are regular incidents you can ask Council to do monitoring. In this case someone from the animal management team will visit the reserve. My understanding is that they can issue infringement notices on the spot.