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Police dog attack investigation supported

Council supports police in horrific dog attack investigation

Auckland City Council is taking extra steps to help the police capture the dog responsible for the horrific Friday evening dog attack on a child at Cox’s Bay.

Council patrolled the area around Cox’s Bay Reserve for an additional 13 hours over the weekend as part of the hunt for the offending dog and its owner.

And, based on the dog description received from the police, Council is now searching its database of registered dogs in the Western Bays area, in the hope of finding leads to help in the police hunt.

“It is the worst dog attack we can recall,” says Geoff Atherfold, the city’s team leader, compliance monitoring. “Council wants the dog involved in this vicious incident caught and destroyed, and the owner prosecuted.”

As this incident was initially reported directly to the police, it is now an official police investigation. The police advised Council this morning of the most up-to-date description of the dog: cross breed light brown / short hair black solid head, like a Rottweiler very powerful body - about the size of a bull mastiff The dog attack occurred between 9.30pm-10.00pm, Friday 31 January 2003, on the Cox’s Bay Reserve football field, 20m from the stadium. Under the Dog Control Act 1996, Council is empowered to make bylaws in respect of dogs in the city. Part 12 of the Auckland City Consolidated Bylaw 1998 includes restrictions on dogs in public places and on beaches.

The day-to-day control of dogs and the enforcement of the provisions of the Dog Control Act 1996, and this part of the Auckland City Consolidated Bylaw 1998, is carried out by Animal Control Services, a contractor to Council.

According to Part 12.2 of the bylaw ‘Dogs In Public Places’, all dogs in a public place must be on a lead. If the local community board has designated the area as a dog exercise area, it will be signposted as such. Exercise areas are areas where dogs can exercise off a lead, though they must remain under the constant supervision of a person over the age of 16. Effective control can be voice, body language, or a leash.

The dog attack at Cox’s Bay occurred in a public place, outside the designated dog exercise area. Under the bylaw the owner can face a fine of up to $1500 or three months in jail.

“To make sure dogs are kept on leashes during the summer period, Council patrol every beach and reserve in the city every day. Every beach is visited up to three times every day,” says Mr Atherfold. “But ultimately we rely on dog owners to be responsible and keep their dogs under control in public places at all times.”

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