Dogs put down the humane way in Bay

By Luke Balvert

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While a number of councils are still shooting dogs or using intravenous injections to put them down, the Bay of Plenty region is following SPCA protocol.

Nationally thousands of unwanted dogs, nearly all unregistered, unchipped and deemed unsuitable for rehoming, are killed each year from either firearms, bolt-guns or in some cases intravenous injection.

However, both the Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council follow SPCA protocol and euthanise dogs through injection.

The two local authorities put down 362 dogs last year.

Tauranga City Council animal control manager Brent Lincoln said the city had 9525 registered dogs and the council took a strong stance when it came to euthanising dogs.

"Every dog we have euthanised is done by a vet. The real issue for the city council is that it is the most acceptable in the environment."

Mr Lincoln said the dogs were only euthanised after they were impounded or could not be relocated to a home.

The dogs were kept for a minimum of seven days before such procedure could occur.

Western Bay of Plenty District Council communications manager Peter Hennessey said there were 8056 registered dogs in the district and like the Tauranga City Council they made sure each dog was euthanised by a veterinarian via an injection.

Institute of Animal Control Officers (NZIACO) president Les Dalton said although the preferred method was injection, he understood firearms and bolt guns were still used by some councils, particularly away from the main regional centres.

"The problem is that most of the rural councils have little access to a vet. The institution's preferred method is intravenous injection, but it's not always practical."

Mr Dalton said euthanising was seen as a last resort because the institute's main goal was to find a good home for dogs.

"I can assure you no animal control officer looks forward to doing it [putting down an animal]. They are trained in such procedures, but they never enjoy it."

Along with the NZIACO, the SPCA has a strong stance on legal euthanising.

SPCA Tauranga operations manager Margaret Rawiri said they tried to make sure any dog euthanised was done so by injection from a registered vet away from the SPCA facilities.

Mrs Rawiri backed up Mr Dalton's claims, saying it was not possible for all regions to follow such protocol, but endorsed such a move in the future.

"I can appreciate that some of it is financial. We would not consider any other way. It's better for the animals, better for staff moral and piece of mind for them.

"It would be good if everyone did it that way."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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