The Pohutakawa Coast Grapevine has been super charged recently by posters who are sick of seeing, cleaning up, and in some cases stepping in horse excrement around Beachlands.
While there is an established protocol for dog owners collecting their dog’s leavings and depositing them in specially provided bins, no such culture seems to exist in relation to equines.
The Auckland Council Animal Management Bylaw 2015 (amended 2019) outlines the obligations of animal owners as: (1) The owner of any animal must at all times– (a) ensure that animal does not cause a nuisance to any other person; and (b) ensure that animal does not cause a risk to public health and safety.
Nowhere within the bylaw does it refer directly to horse’s owners or riders having to scoop up the poop directly, but when alluding to a potential risk to public health and safety and the practice being a ‘nuisance’ the law becomes open to interpretation.
The Pohutakawa Coast Times approached Beachlands Pony Club President Jacki Corkill to shed light on the club’s attitude around collection, and found that it was encouraged:
“Members of our pony club are pretty excellent at picking up poo. Mostly we have a shovel clipped to our saddle and if the more agile kids are riding, they jump off at the time and shovel it discreetly around trees or in wild areas. If the mums are riding together and do not have anywhere to remount our horses close by, we come back after our ride and deal with it.”
“As you can imagine taking poo with us is impractical as it weighs several kilograms per dump” adds Jacki.
Jacki says that she even sought clarity on the club’s responsibilities from the Police in years gone by, given the deposits are often on busy roads. “The Police recommend we don’t pick up poo as it poses a risk to be on the road engaged in other tasks and potentially not looking out for cars.”
Jacki adds however that due to local public pressure (as in vocalised by the grapevine,) club members will “pick it up anyway if it’s not too dangerous.”
But what If a horse poos at the beach? Jacki spoke with Auckland Council regarding their policy; “they(council) have told us if it’s below the high tide mark we are to leave it, this is because horse poo is essentially like mown grass and poses little health risk, unlike dog poo which has a high bacterial count.”
Jacki believes the majority of people understand and accept the limitations of equine effluent disposal. “We do our best to keep the community happy. We try to interact with the people that come out to pat our horses to keep good connections. We appreciate that we are lucky to be able to own these glorious beasts and endeavour to share the experience with those that are interested.”