In August 2020, Council resolved that a bylaw was the correct way to address the issues around keeping animals in the district and that the existing bylaw (and amendment) should be changed and updated following a public consultation. The Proposed Bylaw 2022 does not apply to dogs as this is covered separately under the Dog Control Bylaw.
The Council took the opportunity to revisit the previous approach adopted in 2008 by proposing a significant number of changes to better address the perceived problems that arise in relation to animals in the district.
The draft bylaw was presented to the Regulatory and Hearing Committee on the 9 March 2022, where several changes were suggested, and it was approved on that basis to progress to legal review. The legal review was undertaken, and Council’s legal advisors suggested a number of changes, related to formatting and the tightening up of wording and phrases.
The draft bylaw incorporating these changes, along with a set of maps outlining ‘Urban Areas’ in Buller, was approved to go out for public consultation, as required under the LGA 2002 in June 2022.
Between 13 September and 11 October 2022 Council consulted on the Proposed Keeping of Animals Bylaw 2022. Public Notices were placed in local papers and Council’s website had a full page dedicated to the proposed bylaw with copies of all the relevant documents, including a submission form and link to an online submission form. There were regular reminders on Council’s Facebook page and copies of all document were placed in libraries, the Reefton Visitor and Service Centre and other locations around the district.
In total, 63 submissions were received from residents and national organisations (five submissions did not have any attached explanation). The issues that were raised covered many aspects of the proposed bylaw like:
- Urban Area Boundaries
- Keeping of cats in an urban area
- Keeping of poultry in an urban area and poultry houses and poultry runs
- Beekeeping and keeping bees in an urban area
- Keeping of livestock in an urban area
- Pig keeping
- Slaughter of livestock (Section 13, p. 7)
- Commercial vs. Domestic animal keeping
- Existing use rights
- Clarification and further definition
- Bylaw itself.
Hearings and deliberations
On the 14 December 2022, the Regulatory and Hearings Committee met to hear from those submitters who had notified Council that they wished to speak in support of their submissions. In total nine submitters outlined their reasons for making their submissions.
After considering submissions and holding the hearing Council suggested some changes to the following sections of the proposed bylaw. The changes proposed are:
Re-definition of urban areas:
- Only Westport, Carters Beach and Reefton are now proposed to be considered as urban areas
Keeping of cats in urban areas:
- reducing the number to 2 per property*; and
- requiring all cats over 6 months old to be desexed, microchipped and registered with Companion Animals New Zealand.
These changes are considered of sufficient significance that Council had to go out again for public consultation to capture the community' feedback on these specific matters.
The remainder of the proposed bylaw remains the same as the one which was consulted on in 2022.