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New warning system for some dog offences

20 September 2004

New warning system for some dog offences

Auckland City has introduced a warning system as an alternative to infringements to enforce some offences under the Dog Control Act and Auckland City Dog Control Bylaw.

Auckland City’s Works Committee resolved last week that nine offences can now be enforced with a warning. Any subsequent offences within 24 months would incur a fine.

The nine offences where a warning may be applied are: failure to confine failure to remove faeces failure to advise change of address failure to provide welfare owner present but dog off leash failure to carry a leash in public dog into refuse failure to advise of change of ownership failure to re-register within one month of due date

Discretion was given to dog control officers to issue either a warning or an infringement for failing to confine a dog, depending upon the situation.

The new warning system for these offences was a result of Auckland City’s recent review of its dog control bylaw, which indicated that in some cases a warning may be more appropriate than an infringement.

Based on discussions with Auckland City’s contractor for animal control and feedback from elected representatives, 20 offences were ranked from the most to least serious.

The nine offences where warnings can now be issued were considered suitable because there was low risk to public safety.

Chairperson of Auckland City’s Works Committee, Councillor Bill Christian says, “We’ve worked hard to address the issue of dog control and are now seeing results. The message seems to be getting through and as a result we’ve been able to introduce warnings for those offences where the public is not at risk.”

He says that since the beginning of 2003, dog control officers have taken a stricter position with issuing infringement notices especially when dealing with dogs wandering the street and unregistered dogs.

Reports of dogs biting people in Auckland city were down 48 per cent for the 2003/2004 registration year, with 138 incidents reported compared to 268 for the previous year.

The warning system will be part of a four-tiered approach that includes: providing information and advice issuing warnings where appropriate issuing infringement notices, prosecuting owners and where required using menacing dog, dangerous dog, probationary and disqualified dog owner classifications immediate enforcement action in regard to unregistered dogs.

Council officers have been asked to report back to the Works Committee in July 2005 on the implementation of the dog control enforcement guidelines.

ENDS

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