Hastings District pound has gone from underdog to top dog with the Ministry for Primary Industries closing its animal welfare investigation into the centre.

The inspection was in response to a series of complaints made by members of the public more than two years ago regarding the condition of impounded dogs, the handling of dogs and the conditions of the pound.

In 2013 there was public outcry about the treatment of the animals in the council's care. One resident claimed dogs were hosed down in their cages and left wet and shivering with no blankets for warmth, in the middle of winter.

During the ministry's investigation district compliance manager for the region, Ray McKay, cited eight problem areas, all of which have been addressed by the centre. The areas included exercise of impounded dogs, temperature control and isolation facilities.


In his final letter, Mr McKay thanked centre manager John Payne and his staff for their work to resolve the issues he cited.

He said the significant upgrade and changes in management processes meant the improvements to animal welfare was "demonstrable"..

"The communication of your understanding of the issues, progress on actions, and discussion around the solutions has all been part of a very positive approach with excellent outcomes for both impounded dogs and the animal control staff."

Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule said it was reported by staff that the ministry claimed Hastings now had one of the best pounds in New Zealand.

"From where we were, to where we are now I think credit is needed to go to John Payne and his team for getting us to that point," he said. "I hope now that the community has every confidence that the way we manage animal control is now up with the best in New Zealand."

Mr Payne said council was pleased to have the upgrades completed.

"It was rather a large project, given the animal welfare building had to be completely rebuilt, however we've got there on time and within budget, and the dogs are a great deal better off."

"Our staff are also better off, as they have a much more modern facility that is easy to keep clean."

Mr Payne, who has been central to the changes made at the centre, said by following the new processes, keeping the current standards up would not be difficult.

"With the new building, cleanliness and disease prevention standards will be much, much easier to maintain," he said. "We have also employed a welfare kennel officer, whose main focus is running the centre."

If people are wanting to adopt a dog Mr Payne said the centre is open from 9am to 10am and 3.30pm to 4.30pm Monday to Friday, and from 11am to noon on Saturdays.

"However, if someone cannot come between those times, they can contact us and we'll make an appointment outside of those hours."

One of the most successful ways of rehoming dogs is through council's Facebook page, he said.