BARKING HAPPY: Toowoomba Veterinary Hospital owner Louis Gilshenan and Prada are rejoicing after Toowoomba Regional Council moved to reopen the city's off-leash dog areas. Now they are looking for council to provide a fenced area for dogs and their owners.
BARKING HAPPY: Toowoomba Veterinary Hospital owner Louis Gilshenan and Prada are rejoicing after Toowoomba Regional Council moved to reopen the city's off-leash dog areas. Now they are looking for council to provide a fenced area for dogs and their owners. Dave Noonan

Councillors barked up wrong tree

TOOWOOMBA Regional Council has backflipped on its decision to close the city's off-leash dog areas.

The decision came after strong public condemnation and has embarrassed the council.

Council has put a moratorium on the closures and went into confidential briefings yesterday afternoon to review the decision.

With the council currently in caretaker mode, a motion to overturn the closures is expected to be presented to the new incoming council.

At least four off-leash areas were closed on January 1 this year as part of a sweeping change to local laws.

Councillors have admitted they were unaware they closed the off-leash areas when they passed the law changes on November 23 last year.

Despite some levelling the blame at council officers, Cr Bill Cahill yesterday told The Chronicle the decision was solely that of councillors.

Cr Cahill said councillors had requested the council officers to leave the briefings that were held to discuss and finalise the law changes.

Mayor Peter Taylor admitted the way the issue had unfolded was an embarrassment.

Cr Taylor said council was determined to "amend and change" the decision from November last year, but had to follow the correct process.

"Council is looking to correct a mistake that's been made," he said.

"Councillors have looked through a big volume of material and obviously along the way there have been some things that have slipped through."