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New dog rules to support safer communities

New dog rules to support safer communities

New dog control measures announced today will give those at the forefront of animal management better tools for dealing with high-risk dogs, Local Government New Zealand says.

Associate Minister of Local Government Louise Upston today announced a new national action plan to reduce risk and prevent harm from dog attacks.

Measures in the plan, which is being developed by central and local government and relevant stakeholders, will require owners of high-risk dogs to do more to ensure their dogs are properly controlled.

These include:

· neutering all high-risk dogs;

· keeping high-risk dogs in a fenced area that allows visitors dog-free access to at least one house entrance;

· putting signs at the front of the property warning of high-risk dogs; and

· having dangerous and menacing dogs wear collars that identify them as high-risk.

Animal shelters will also be prevented from adopting out high-risk dogs to new owners.

As a first step a programme to be launched over the summer aimed at reducing the risk of attacks has been given funding of $850,000 to subsidise the neutering of high-risk dogs.

LGNZ President Lawrence Yule says local government plays a critical role in managing all dogs and these steps will help address the big challenges posed by high-risk dogs.

“There has been an increase in the number of these attacks in recent years, and too often children are the victims,” Mr Yule says.

“These changes mean councils will have much better tools for managing these animals and will go a long way towards making our communities safer. They also send a strong message to the owners of these dogs that they need to take more responsibility for keeping them under control.”

“In particular, requiring the mandatory neutering of all menacing dogs will mean councils can get on with doing this, preventing these dogs from breeding. The $850,000 funding is a welcome contribution,” Mr Yule says.

Mr Yule says the measures to increase safety such as fencing, muzzles, and prohibiting the re-homing of classified dogs should also make a dent in the number of dog attacks we see in our communities.

The legislation is scheduled to be introduced in February 2017.


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