Auckland Council dog amnesty proves a success

By Angela Woods

Owners of the 1228 dangerous dogs registered before today had registration fees for 2015/16 and fines for failure to register waived. Photo / iStock
Owners of the 1228 dangerous dogs registered before today had registration fees for 2015/16 and fines for failure to register waived. Photo / iStock

More than 1200 menacing dogs have been registered, microchipped and de-sexed as part of Auckland Council's menacing dogs amnesty, which ended yesterday.

The amnesty ran for 10 weeks and was designed to encourage owners to register dogs classified as menacing before a clampdown that begins today.

Owners of the 1228 dangerous dogs registered before today had registration fees for 2015/16 and fines for failure to register waived.

The council also provided de-sexing, microchipping and muzzles for $25.

Pitbulls and pitbull crosses are 20 times more likely to be involved in a serious attack than other dog breeds, the council's manager of animal management Geoff Keber said at the start of the amnesty.

"Dog attacks are on the rise," he added.

There were 113 attacks and 90 bites reported in January alone.

Darnell Minarapa-Brown was attacked by his uncle's pitbull in Takanini in April, just weeks before the council's announcement of the amnesty.

The 7-year-old was rushed to hospital with severe facial injuries.

He required more than 100 stitches and had a metal plate inserted into his nose and cheek.

The dog involved was surrendered to the council and euthanised.

The dog's owner said at the time that he was "shattered" by what happened to his nephew.

Council began discussions about a plan to deal with menacing dogs soon after the attack on Darnell.

Councillor Calum Penrose said the amnesty was only a "short-term solution", and called on Parliament to pass tougher laws to control dangerous dogs.

The attack on Darnell was the fourth dog attack on a child in Mr Penrose's Manurewa-Papakura ward in four weeks.

The council amnesty applied to dog breeds listed under the menacing classification in the Dog Control Act 1996.

American Pitbull terriers and pitbull-type dogs are the most common of these, although several other breeds such as the Dogo Argentino are also included.

Just under 700 dogs were registered through the amnesty scheme by June 20, but a last-minute rush saw more than 500 dog owners come forward.

From today, Auckland Council's animal management team will seize unregistered dogs and fine their owners.

- NZ Herald

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