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SPCA Urges Uniform Dog Laws

ROYAL NEW ZEALAND SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS

For release: 24 June 2003

SPCA URGES UNIFORM DOG LAWS

The SPCA wants the laws governing dogs to be consistent throughout New Zealand.

In a submission on the Local Government Law Reform Bill (No.2), the Society has called for uniform enforcement of the rule requiring dogs to be kept on leads in defined public places.

At the same time, the SPCA has urged the generous provision of areas where dogs may exercise freely, saying this too should be according to a nationally consistent pattern with exercise areas clearly defined.

Unleashed exercise should be allowed, the submission says, in designated parks, designated areas within parks and at designated times in more populated parks as well as along designated coastal beaches. Those parks where dogs need to be on leads should also be clearly sign-posted.

"Consistent laws in this area are essential as the availability of public parks are often dominated by local politics with the dogs in such areas being overly restricted," the submission adds.

The submission, to Parliament's Local Government and Environment Committee, contends that no law can be effective unless it is consistent in both content and enforcement.

The SPCA recommends a nationwide scale of instant fines for owners who allow their dogs unleashed in defined public places, who don't clean up after their dogs or who allow them to create an excessive public nuisance through barking.

Other areas where consistency is sought include registration and impounding fees as well as minimum standards for dog pounds and uniform standards of adoption from pounds including temperament assessments prior to rehoming.

As an example of inconsistency, the SPCA cites registration fees ranging from $39.00 to $94.00 in different parts of the Auckland Region. It also notes that only four of the region's seven Territorial Authorities provide incentives for the desexing of dogs in the form of lower registration costs, with fees stretching from $30.00 to $68.00.

"One of the greatest disadvantages of current dog legislation is that local authorities are able to make their own by-laws and, as a result, you get a whole variety of laws which are confusing and accordingly almost totally unenforceable," says Auckland SPCA's Chief Executive, Bob Kerridge.

"Unless there is consistency, people will not understand what's required of them and, if they don't understand, they aren't necessarily in a position to obey the law," he adds.

For further information, please contact:

Bob Kerridge

Chief Executive

SPCA Auckland (Inc.)

09 256 7300


Peter Mason

President

Royal New Zealand SPCA

04 383 4026


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