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Dog numbers on the rise

dog pack

Wairoa’s already high dog population is growing with most locals demonstrating they are responsible dog owners.

The Wairoa District Council dog registration records show 3,246 dogs on file for the 2021-22 year, around 150 more than the previous year. These dogs are owned by 1,343 owners.

Wairoa dog ownership is more than four times the national average, and while Council staff impounded a total of 154 dogs over the past year, that is around 30 less than the previous year.

Dogs are usually impounded for not being registered, attacking a person or animal, barking, straying, welfare issues, lost/found, surrendered or relinquished.

The required duration for a dog to stay in the pound is seven days, which gives the owner time to be identified and notified regarding impounding. In some cases, dogs are held for longer while investigations are carried out.

Dog owners who recover their impounded dog are responsible for paying impounding costs of $100 for the first impounding, $160 for the second impounding and $200 for the third impounding. Plus a $30 daily sustenance fee which covers cleaning, food/meals, water, shelter, medical or vet treatment and exercise. There may also be additional costs of microchipping of the impounded dog plus registration fees and in some cases infringement fees.

The pound can accommodate 16 dogs at a time and costs of rent, chemicals, food, and miscellaneous maintenance costs around $6000 a year.

Over the last year 69 dogs were euthanised, 10 less than the year before, usually due to attacks on people or animals, unclaimed stray dogs, relinquished or surrendered dogs. Sixteen of these dogs were involved in attacks on people and animals.

Seventeen dogs rehomed with other agencies out of the district.

Owners not registering their dogs remains an issue and last year Council staff recorded 96 dogs as unregistered.

Wairoa District Council chief executive officer Kitea Tipuna acknowledged Wairoa has a large dog population and praised the majority of dog owners who are responsible and follow the rules.

“It is great to see a reduction in dogs being impounded, however, we do still have dog owners who are not meeting the requirements of being a responsible dog owner and it is their dogs that are creating problems in the community.

“If everybody works together, we can keep our community safe and reduce the amount of time and money spent on dealing with dog issues that really are preventable.”

Mr Tipuna said Council has an obligation to impound wandering dogs and dogs that are caught attacking or threatening stock or people. But when no one takes ownership of the impounded dog, or pays the fees, these costs are absorbed by Council which in turn impacts on our community.

This year’s dog registration forms have been sent out and need to be paid before the end of August to take advantage of the discounted pricing.

In Wairoa there are five dog registration classification categories and pricings.

Class W ($60) is working dogs as defined under Section 2 of the Dog Control Act 1996. This includes disability assist dogs and dogs kept only for the purpose of driving or heading stock.

Class S ($100) is standard dogs which includes most pets, companion, recreational, hunting and family dogs.

Class SO ($90) is the selected owner policy where responsible dog owners receive a 10% discount to encourage owners to take good care of their dogs.

Class Q ($200) is for dogs classified as menacing or belonging to a breed or type or having been observed or had reported behaviour of a dog with characteristics typically associated with the dog’s breed or type which are, listed in Schedule 4 of the Dog Control Act 1996.

Class D ($415) is dogs classified as dangerous based on the behaviour of the dog on one or more occasions or the dog owner of the dog has been convicted of an offence in relation to the dog under section 57A (2).

Council has also created a Selected Dog Owner Policy to reward responsible dog owners who are complying with Dog Control Policy and Dog Control Bylaw. Selected owner applications need to apply by May 1 prior to the year of registration, and if successful, selected owners will receive a 10% discount on dog registration, on top of Council’s early payment discount.

If you would like more information or require assistance with registering your dog, the team is always happy to help. Head over to www.wairoadc.govt.nz or get in touch with our Compliance Team compliance@wairoadc.govt.nz or phone Council on 06 838 7309.

5 August 2022

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