Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's police reporter.

Dog attacks worst in city's south

Nationally, two people a day need treatment for bites, records show.
Figures show dogs remain a postie's nemesis, clocking up 974 attacks over three years. Photo / Getty Images
Figures show dogs remain a postie's nemesis, clocking up 974 attacks over three years. Photo / Getty Images

Dog attacks make up nearly three-quarters of the total convictions for dog-control related offences in New Zealand courts since 2010.

While 1486 people were charged with the offences between 2010 and 2014, 993 were convicted according to Ministry of Justice figures released to the New Zealand Herald under the Official Information Act.

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Of those convictions, 725 - or 73 per cent - were related to dogs which have attacked people or other animals.

Under the Dog Control Act, which is administered by the Department of Internal Affairs, all dogs are required to be registered and microchipped and kept under control and looked after. Some breeds are illegal to import.

A study released in August by leading plastic surgeon Dr Zachary Moaveni and medical student Jonny Mair revealed there were 99,003 dogbites recorded in New Zealand between July 2004 and 2014.

Of those, 5482 cases required hospitalisation - meaning two people needed emergency medical treatment for dog bite injuries each day.

The Ministry of Justice data showed the most dog attack convictions were issued in Manukau court district - which includes Papakura and Pukekohe - where 277 convictions were recorded.

In the Auckland court district - which included the central city, North Shore and Waitakere, there were 221 convictions.

New Zealand Association of Plastic Surgeons president Dr Sally Langley has repeatedly said the medical and psycho-social impact on dog attack victims was "life-changing" and tougher dog-control laws were needed.

Founding director of charity Bark, Heather Laanbroek, said compulsory education in every school was needed to address the problem.

However, National's Associate Local Government Minister, Louise Upston, has repeatedly said that a 2014 assessment of the country's dog-control laws by the Department of Internal Affairs found there was no need for change here.

- NZ Herald

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