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Animal control officer assaulted in Kingsland

31 August 2005

Animal control officer assaulted in Kingsland

An Auckland City animal control officer was assaulted by a member of the public in Kingsland last week.

She had impounded a wandering pitbull terrier and was putting the dog in the back of her van when she was pushed from behind, then grabbed by a man who wrestled the dog from her and ran off. The officer was later treated for serious bruising and shock.

Police say the offender is known to them and that charges will be laid.

Auckland City service requests manager, Warren Adler says the assault has taken the gloss off an otherwise great year.

The council has just completed its analysis of animal control statistics for the past year and found that dog aggression-related statistics in the city have decreased 10 per cent in the year ending 30 June 2005. There were 62 fewer incidents than the previous year.

Mr Adler says it is great to see a decrease in aggression, but said the assault on an officer highlights the dangers encountered by officers working to ensure public safety.

“Despite incidents such as these, the decrease in aggression-related statistics is a pleasing reflection of the hard work animal control officers have put in to an extensive education programme over the past year. The programme aimed to raise awareness amongst the city’s residents on taking care around dogs and responsible dog ownership,” he said.

“Auckland City’s animal control officers have visited 143 schools this year and spoken to 3575 pupils about taking care around dogs. This figure combined with the number of people who have been through our displays on dog safety in shopping malls and at shows means our officers have reached more than 22,000 people.

“We’re really pleased with this result and hope to see a further reduction in aggression incidents as education of dog owners and the general public continues,” he adds.

The number of owners attending responsible dog owner licensing classes also increased over the past year – with 68 classes held and 577 licenses issued, compared with 11 classes and 97 licenses in the previous year. Dog owners who participate in these courses and gain a dog owner license pay reduced registration fees.

Auckland City has also focused on reducing the number of unregistered dogs in the city over the past year, having identified a possible link between unregistered dogs and offences.

Animal control officers carried out 2338 registration checks over the past year and issued 1203 infringements for non-registration.

The number of dogs registered on time has also increased, with 96 per cent of all known dogs registered by 30 June 2005. By 30 August 2004, only 82 per cent of all known dogs were registered. Auckland City has sent out reminder notices to those owners who have not yet registered their dogs. A late fee is now payable in addition to the registration fee and from 1 September, officers will be visiting properties and impounding any unregistered dogs.

ENDS

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