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Dog owner's obligations & responsibilities

Dog on lead

While most dog owners are compliant Council officers are concerned there are some dog owners who need to ensure they are meeting their obligations.

Wairoa District Council chief executive Steven May reminded dog owners they need to keep their dog under control at all times.

“Dogs must be under control so they cannot freely leave their property and when out walking must be restrained by a lead or leash in public places and designated lead areas.

“Having a dog under control helps avoid serious dog attacks on people, or other dogs, especially over the busy summer holiday period when there are extra visitors and their dogs in the district.”

Council’s compliance team has been actively patrolling the Mahia/Mahanga areas, which is a total on lead designated area, and educating dog owners around their obligations and responsibilities.

Extra signs have been placed around town and outlying areas informing people that dogs must be on a lead.

Mr May said officers have attended many serious incidents over the last few months that could have been avoided by simply having dogs on a lead.

“The job of the Animal Control team is to enforce the Bylaws to ensure the safety of all members of the public.

“Roaming dogs have all the time in the world to get into trouble, whether it be ripping up rubbish bags, fouling neighbor’s sections, beaches and reserves or aggressive threating behavior toward other dogs or people.”

Barking dogs is another concern and one of the most common dog complaints reported to Council.

Over the last year there has been a steady increase in the number of barking dog complaints.

Excessive dog barking is monotonous and repetitive and is a sound that few people can tolerate.

Dogs bark naturally to communicate. There are many reasons for a dog to bark, the most common are a warning/startled bark, lonely or anxious bark, or simply the dog is bored.

Owners must take steps to ensure any form of barking is curtailed in such a way it does not result in nuisance barking.

Shifting the kennel to another location, leaving toys out for the dog to play with, making sure the dog has adequate water, food, and proper shelter from the elements can assist in the prevention of a barking dog.

Dogs usually bark when the owners are not home so it can be difficult for them to believe their dog barks excessively and it can be disturbing to their neighbours.

Dog barking complaints received by the Wairoa District Council will be investigated and if there is a concern the dog owner will be advised to take action to abate the nuisance.

If the barking is not rectified officers may remove a dog from its premises and impounded.

Roaming dogs caught by Council officers will also be impounded in a bid to protect the community and the dog itself.

If the dog owner is known to the officers, it may be returned, and a warning given and repeat offending dogs will be taken to the pound.

All dogs should be registered and be wearing a collar displaying their registration tag, and all standard dogs should be microchipped so officers can contact the dog owner.

If a dog is impounded for a first time the fee is $65, followed by $90 for a second impounding and $125 for a third and subsequent impounding.

There is also a charge of $30 per day which pays for feeding, exercising and shelter of the dogs.

Repeat offending can lead to the owners being infringed $200 per offence and could result in prosecution extreme cases which carries a maximum fine of $3000.

A dog cannot be released from the pound unless it is registered and microchipped, and all fees and charges paid in full. Council will only hold dogs for seven- days, so if a dog is not claimed within that period of time Council will move the dog on as it sees fit.

If a dog is impounded over the weekend it will not be released until Monday morning, when the office is open, so that all fees and charges can be paid in full.

Anyone who would like further information around being a responsible dog owner or dog impounding should phone the Council on 06 838 7309 and talk to a compliance team member.

15 January 2020

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