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New enforcement system results for dog control


13 October 2005
New enforcement system leads to positive results for dog control

A new enforcement system for animal control introduced by Auckland City after the attack on Carolina Anderson in 2003 has led to significant improvements in dog control.

The system, in effect since 1 September 2004, has led to a decrease in aggression incidents, greater numbers of dog owners registering their dogs and increased levels of responsible dog ownership and regulation compliance.

In the year from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005, dog aggression-related incidents in the city have decreased by 10 per cent. There were 62 fewer incidents than the previous year and 465 less than in the 2002 to 2003 year.

Councillor Glenda Fryer, chairperson of the Planning and Regulatory Committee, says the results are a pleasing reflection of the council's efforts to encourage responsibility amongst dog owners.

"Over the past year Auckland City has worked proactively in the area of dog control, with significant efforts made in the areas of education and enforcement of regulations," says Ms. Fryer. "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."

Auckland City's Planning and Regulatory Committee recommended at their meeting today that council officers investigate options, such as the use of handheld units, to enable dog control officers to work more efficiently and build on the improvements already made.

Measures introduced under the new enforcement system include:

- targeting problem dogs and owners to lower the probability of the dogs threatening public safety

- an increase in animal control services to provide 24-hour, seven-day a week coverage on the isthmus (previously the services were five days a week)

- a new warning system, giving animal control officers the power to warn rather than infringe first time offenders of less serious offences such as failure to remove dog faeces or failure to advise change of address

- more responsible dog owner licensing classes. Sixty-eight classes were held and 577 licenses issued in the year to 30 June 2005, 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.

- an increased focus on education. In 2004 to 2005, animal control officers visited 143 schools and spoke to 3575 pupils about taking care around dogs. This figure combined with the number of people who have been through displays on dog safety in shopping malls and at shows means Auckland City has reached more than 22,000 people.

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.

"Dog owners must recognise that if they do not take care to keep their dogs under control at all times and follow the regulations, there will be consequences," Ms Fryer said.

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.

For more information on responsible dog ownership, visit www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/dogs or call Auckland City on (09) 379 2020.


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