Focus on the Land
Dog rushes on rise, hundreds destroyed
Thursday, August 09, 2012
WALKING a dog in Gisborne can be a frightening experience, Gisborne District Council’s environment and policy committee was told yesterday by Deputy Mayor Nona Aston.
A staff report said cases of dogs rushing people had risen to 140 in the past year but there were less actual attacks.
The committee was considering two papers — an annual report on dog policy, and the annual animal control and parking activity report — both covering the year ending June 30.
Animal control team leader Steve Greaves said there were 3006 dog complaints in the year, of which 68 were dog attacks and 140 were rushing. There were 900 reports of roaming dogs and 460 of barking. There were 22 dogs classed as dangerous.
Nona Aston said while she did not want to criticise Mr Greaves, it seemed to her and others that there was a plethora of “horrible dogs” in the Mangapapa and Whataupoko areas.
Some were able to jump fences and she described one husky dog as being as big as a horse.
She had to change the route she took when walking her small dog to avoid them.
“It is frightening. There seems to be a lot of people just letting their dogs go,” she said.
Acting chairman Craig Bauld said he had noticed the same thing when jogging with his dogs 30 years ago.
Mrs Aston said there seemed to be a lot of pig dogs in the Mangapapa-Whataupoko area. They were tied up at the back of properties but got out occasionally and were highly dangerous.
Mr Greaves said it was difficult to classify a dog as a pig dog. Genuine pig hunters were no problem — it was the people staff called the “wannabes”.
He personally did not think the problem was getting worse. This was a national problem, not just Gisborne.
The problem was people who had a dog for the wrong reasons.
The number of attacks had fallen but the number of reports of dogs rushing at people without attacking them had increased.
Complaints increased from 4.30pm when people got home, let the dogs off, then went inside to watch television.
It was important that people phone the council immediately they saw something, as dogs were very mobile and had often left when animal control staff arrived.
Rehette Stoltz said it might be time to do a public awareness programme to remind people of what was involved in being a responsible dog owner. People should be told to watch their dogs or they could be taken from them.
Manu Caddie said it was disturbing to see that over half of the 1001 dogs impounded during the year were destroyed. It seemed some people did not care about their dogs and would just get a new one. Mr Bauld said the number of dogs destroyed was scary.
Pam Murphy said Te Karaka also had problems with roaming dogs.
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