Sandra is a senior crimes and justice reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Dog control laws to be given more teeth

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Owners of menacing and dangerous dogs could soon be required to get high-risk dog owner licences from their local council under Government proposals.
Owners of menacing and dangerous dogs could soon be required to get high-risk dog owner licences from their local council under Government proposals.

Owners of menacing and dangerous dogs could soon be required to get high-risk dog owner licences from their local council under Government proposals.

Under the proposed law changes owners would need to demonstrate they were capable of handing a high-risk dog.

Dog owners properties would be inspected and the animal's temperament tested.

All high-risk dogs would need to be neutered and their owners would face fencing rules.

The Government also proposed increasing the maximum penalty for serious injury attacks.

Local Government NZ president Lawrence Yule earlier said the measures should make a dent in the number of dog attacks, and go a long way to making communities safer.

In Tauranga City there were 176 dogs classified as menacing and 26 as dangerous from a total registered population of 11,594.

Tauranga City Council's animal services team leader Brent Lincoln said the council was undertaking a review of its Dog Control Bylaw but that it was still at an early stage.

"But I can confirm that there is a recommendation that all menacing dogs should be neutered. This, however, may be superseded by the proposed legislation changes."

Dogs classified as menacing in Tauranga because of their breed included the American Pit Bull Terrier, Dogo Argentino, Neapolitan Mastiff and Rottweiler.

Mr Lincoln said there had been 35 reported attacks on people between July 1 and October 31, compared to 79 for the financial year ended June 30, 2016.

There are 8444 dogs registered with Western Bay of Plenty District Council, of which 21 are classified dangerous and 134 menacing.

Since July 1 there have been at least five attacks on people and 29 on animals.

Alison Curtis, Western Bay of Plenty District Council's regulatory and monitoring manager, said her council had already moved to review its own Dog Control Bylaw.

That meant from October 14 it became mandatory for all menacing dogs to be neutered.

However, the owners of dogs classified as menacing before that date had one year to have their dogs desexed to meet the bylaw requirements, she said.

Susie Jones, owner of Susie J Dog Training, said she questioned how these reforms could be enforced as many owners of the "bad dogs" don't register their pets.

Mrs Jones also argued that particular breeds should not be singled out for attention, and dangerous dogs usually acted way they did because of treatment by their owners.

"We need to be aiming at the two-legged end of the leash and licensing owners of dogs."

Reported dog attacks year
ending June 30:
Tauranga City Council:
Attacks on people: 79
Attacks on animals: 100

Western Bay of Plenty District Council:
Attacks on people: 50
Attacks on animals: 124

Source: Both councils

- Bay of Plenty Times

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