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Council Asked To Call Off The Dogs

Council Asked To Call Off The Dogs

A submission on behalf of 300 Auckland dog owners yesterday asked the Auckland City Council to discontinue its current policy of zero tolerance of dogs off leash. DOG (Dog Owners Group) President Dr Cathy Casey said that the current policy of immediately serving $200 infringement notices without a warning was leading to much anger and frustration among responsible dog owners.

Dr Casey pointed out that in the month prior to the attack on Carolina Anderson in Cox’s Bay Reserve on 31 January, there were 240 cases of dogs of leash identified by Auckland animal control officers but only nine infringements were issued.

“That means that 231 dog owners were warned and 9 were fined. In the first month of the zero tolerance campaign, 75 infringement notices were issued. We believe that it is responsible dog owners with dogs off leash - but under their control - in parks that are being targeted by animal control officers. Essentially we are the easy targets. It’s like the traffic cop parking himself at the side of the road to the airport early in the morning.”

She told the Council that at the same time as dog control officers were pouncing on pooches off lead with their owners in parks, there are areas of Auckland where dog control officers are simply unwilling to venture, never mind implement a zero tolerance policy.

“There are parts of this city where dog control officers will not take any action - even when the identity of the dog and the owner is known. That’s because in many cases the officers fear for their own safety. These “no-go” areas must be policed. Council must ensure that animal control officers - in conjunction with the police if necessary - take all actions necessary against known dangerous roaming dogs and their known dangerous irresponsible owners.”

Dr Casey told the Council that DOG would like animal control officers to once again have flexibility to issue warnings and that the zero tolerance policy should end.

“We would also be very keen for Council to make a public statement with regard to discontinuing the zero tolerance policy.”

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