Angry owners targeting dog rangers

By Amy Shanks

21 comments
Hayley Anderton with a photo of her impounded dog Dougie. Photo/Warren Buckland
Hayley Anderton with a photo of her impounded dog Dougie. Photo/Warren Buckland

The message from some Hastings canine owners is simple - "there is only one dangerous breed: out of control dog control officers".

It's a slogan that's branded across the top of a new Facebook page called, "Hastings Dog Rangers Wall of Shame," where local people shared stories about experiences with animal control.

Their latest cause was a petition to save Dougie, a 4-year-old boxer cross, who has been impounded for seven weeks, following an alleged complaint of "rushing" under section 51A of the Dog Control Act 1996.

After being circulated on social media for a week, the petition had almost 1300 signatures and plenty of comments offering support to the Anderton family of Flaxmere, who were desperately missing, "part of the family".

On the day Dougie was seized Hayley Anderton was at work - her sons, aged 14 and 15 came home from school to find an animal control officer peering over their fence.

"They said they had a complaint about Dougie 'rushing', but I looked up the act and could only find information about dogs rushing in public - this was on private property," Ms Anderton said.

"We are 36m back from the road and we have a 6ft [1.8m] fence, we have a big tin gate, you can't see over it."

She went to the Hastings District Council pleading for the release of her registered and microchipped dog, but was told he would remain in the pound, awaiting a court date.

Council community Safety Manager Phil Evans said a dog could be impounded by an Animal Control officer under a limited set of circumstances, where there was reason to believe an offence under the Dog Control Act had occurred.

"It is not uncommon for [them] to remove an animal from a property when the owner is not home.

"Again, it would depend on the circumstances and a note is left that gives contact details."

Weeks later, Ms Anderton was not aware where she stood or what charges may be laid against her.

Meanwhile, Dougie had lost weight and his bark.

"He's fussy, I usually cook all his meals for him, he's used to eating heart and pasta, when we asked if we were allowed to bring food, they said only tins were allowed."

Mr Evans said the pound was regularly cleaned and kept tidy to ensure there is no risk of any disease spreading.

"Dogs are fed high quality Iams food and any dog that is going to be kept for a period of time is placed in a larger cage which allows it to walk around.

"SPCA officers and our vets visit the pound on a regular basis and have not reported any issues which require addressing."

Concern over animal control issues will be aired at a community hui at Flaxmere Age Concern from 7pm on Friday.

A more formal hui would also be held at a church on the corner of Flaxmere and Margate avenues on Monday to discuss the wider safety of Flaxmere.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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