Tuesday, 18 April 2017
Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council are joining forces to reduce the risk and harm from dog attacks in the sub-region.
Together they’re offering an amnesty to owners of menacing dogs which will see them receive $350 worth of neutering, microchipping, a subsidised muzzle and registration, all for free. The initiative is being largely funded by central government.
The offer runs until 30 June 2017 and applies to dogs that have or could be classified as menacing under the Dog Control Act 1996 due to their breed, type or behaviour.
Four breeds (Brazilian Fila, Dogo Argentino, Japanese Tosa and Perro dePresa Canario) and one type (American Pit Bull Terrier) are automatically classified as menacing dogs. However, any dog that Council considers may pose a threat to any person or animal may also be classified as menacing.
Tauranga City Council Animal Services Team Leader, Brent Lincoln, says over the past two years there were 214 dog attacks in wider Western Bay.
“The sad thing is when a dog does attack, everybody loses. The victim and their family have to deal with the consequences of the injury and the dog owner can lose their pet which is often regarded as a family member. It is the dog owner’s responsibility to ensure their dog isn’t another statistic.”
The campaign is part of a nationwide attempt to reduce dog attacks in New Zealand, and supports the proposed changes for menacing dog owners under the Dog Control Act. One of these proposed changes will require all owners of menacing dogs to have them neutered. Western Bay of Plenty District Council’s bylaw already requires this.
Neutering a dog has many positive benefits, including that the dog will be less likely to wander and get into fights, says Brent.
“Neutering simply pushes sex drive and fighting down the list of priorities allowing other activities to become more important such as working, hunting, tracking and obedience.”
Western Bay Compliance and Monitoring Manager, Alison Curtis, says the amnesty period gives owners the chance to come forward without repercussion and take advantage of this free offer before it becomes law under the Act.
“In the Western Bay of Plenty there are 301 registered menacing dogs, but the issue is with the unknown number of unregistered menacing dogs. We want to promote responsible dog ownership, and push the message that if you own a high-risk dog you have a higher responsibility – and this package is a great opportunity for owners of high-risk dogs.”