A growing number of calls is forcing the Tararua District Council to find a third animal control officer.

"We are making some reductions in dealing with charging and rushing dogs, but we're not keeping up with the number of callouts to animal control, so we're having to beef up our resources," the council's chief executive, Blair King, said.

Craig Lunn, manager of regulatory services for council, told Wednesday's monthly meeting that education was the key to getting dog owners to do the right thing. Mr King agreed.

"The more we can get owners to comply the better," he said.

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Currently the council employs two animal control officers (ACOs), with a 24-hour dog ranger service provided using a contracted security firm outside normal working hours. The dog pounds in Dannevirke and Pahiatua are managed by the ACOs during normal working hours and outside those dogs are fed by a security firm which also cleans both pounds.

Canine facts:

* At June 30, there were 3066 known dog owners in Tararua, with 6804 dogs.

* 189 dogs were not re-registered.

* There were 74 reported complaints about people or animals being bitten or rushed by dogs in the past year.

* Eight dogs are classified as dangerous and 116 as menacing - mainly American pit bull terriers.