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Government to review dog controls

Government to review dog controls

The Dog Control Act 1996 is to be urgently reviewed following last Friday’s attack on a young girl in a suburban Auckland park, Local Government Minister, Chris Carter, announced today.

“I have sent a letter to all district and city council mayors advising them I intend to review the effectiveness of the Act. I am seeking their help to identify any changes that may be needed to prevent a recurrence of the type of vicious attack that occurred last weekend.

“It is simply unacceptable that young children are unable to enjoy the public amenities of a large metropolitan city like Auckland without fear of dog attack.” Mr Carter said that it was unclear as to what steps were needed to prevent similar tragedies in future.

“The Act already provides quite extensive powers to councils to regulate dog ownership, and to deal with dangerous dogs in particular. It is too early to say whether there is a problem with the legislation or whether the issue is one of policing and resources.

“I’ve asked councils to let me know their views by the end of the month. I’ll also be writing to other interested parties, including the Veterinarians’ Association and the Kennel Club to get their views on the issue,” the Minister said.

A copy of the letter to mayors is attached. For more information contact Lyn Holland 04 4719 063 or 021 270 9004.

4 February 2003


Another horrific dog attack on a child has taken place, this time in Auckland. This tragic event highlights a continuing problem with dangerous dogs in the community.

Enforcement of animal control legislation is the responsibility of local authorities and you are the best people to let me know if the current legislation is working. I would really appreciate some feedback from you on this serious issue.

I have directed officials in the local government section of the Department of Internal Affairs to undertake a preliminary review of the situation, and to report back to me, particularly with regard to any changes to the Dog Control Act 1996 that may be justified. You will receive a series of specific questions from my department early next week. The questionnaire will also be put to a number of other groups with an interest in this matter. A key question will be, “do your staff feel that the existing legislation allows them to deal adequately with dangerous dogs?”

It is my understanding that the Act already provides councils with quite extensive powers to regulate dog ownership, and in particular, to ensure that dogs exhibiting aggressive or dangerous tendencies are not left at large. The recent attacks, however, may indicate that we need some changes to the existing legislation.

This is a very important matter and it would be most helpful if your Council’s comments on this matter could be forwarded to me by the end of this month.

Any assistance you are able to provide regarding this matter would be most appreciated.

Yours sincerely

Hon Chris Carter Minister of Local Government

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