Reported dog attacks and complaints about roaming dogs are declining, says a senior Tauranga City Council officer. Sandra Conchie reports.
The guilt or innocence of three impounded dogs suspected of killing five cats in Matua is expected to be determined by the end of this week.
The results are due back from DNA samples taken from three of the five cats killed overnight on December 22 and 23.
Tauranga City Council's animal services team leader, Brett Lincoln, said five cats had been killed and DNA results taken from three of them were expected back by the end of the week.
"The council impounded three dogs, which are owned by two separate owners, as part of this investigation and we are still interviewing some witnesses."
Lincoln said the council was taking the matter seriously, but declined to comment further on the investigation.
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Lincoln said the Matua attacks were among 54 reported attacks on domestic animals in Tauranga City in the six months to December 31 last year. During the same period, there were 34 dog attacks on people.
Lincoln said this compared with 63 attacks on people and 94 on domestic animals between July 1, 2018, and June 30 last year.
"While every attack is one too many, reported attacks on domestic animals have decreased from 122 in the 2014/2015 year to 94 last year.
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"The majority of the reported attacks are dog versus dog and it reiterates the need for owners to ensure they keep their dogs controlled even when out exercising them."
Lincoln said the number of complaints about roaming dogs since 2014/2015 had also reduced from 1783 to 1430.
"Over this period dog numbers have increased by nearly 2000 with 13,128 registered dogs in the city. In summary, although the number of dogs in our city continues to increase, the number of reported aggressive and roaming dogs is declining."
Lincoln said there were four dog attack prosecution cases last year, three for attacks on people and another after a dog attacked stock.
This included the prosecution of the owner of a pitbull terrier-cross which savaged a 9-year-old Tauranga girl during a visit to a Matapihi property on November 14, 2018.
The girl needed surgery after she suffered facial injuries and the dog's owner was fined $550 plus $130 court costs and ordered to pay $750 emotional harm to the victim.
Lincoln said every dog owner needed to understand they were responsible for their dog's actions at all times, whether at home, walking their dog or visiting another property.
"No matter how well-behaved people think their dog is, dogs can react quite differently when their owner isn't around. Owners need to ensure their dog is well controlled."
In the Western Bay of Plenty District Council catchment area, there were 16 attacks on people and another 52 on animals, including stock, in the past six months.
This compared with a total of 36 attacks on people and 103 on animals in the financial year ended June 30, 2019, which was on par with the previous 12 months.
The council's compliance and monitoring manager, Alison Curtis, said there was only one prosecution case in 2019 as a result of an attack which happened in 2018.
There were no notable trends in terms of the behaviour of dogs or dog owners in relation to those attacks when compared with previous years, Curtis said.
By the Numbers:
Tauranga City Council:
Registered dogs: 13,128
Attacks Person: 2018/2019: 63
Attacks Animals: 2018/2019: 94
Attacks Person: 2017/2018: 84
Attacks Animals: 2017/2018: 123
Western Bay of Plenty District Council:
Registered dogs: 9324
Dog rush/attacks person: 2018/2019: 36
Dog rush/attacks animals: 2018/2019: 103
Dog rush/attacks person: 2017/2018: 40
Dog rush/attacks animals: 2017/2018: 95
Sources: Tauranga City & Western Bay of Plenty councils