A welfare group is calling for immediate improvement in animal care at the Far North District Council's dog pounds.

The council received an infringement notice from the SPCA last October for its Kaitāia pound as it did not meet minimum animal welfare standards.

Leonie Exel from Bay of Islands Watchdogs said the dogs were still not being exercised - a requirement under the Animal Welfare Act - and correspondence from the council suggested they would not be until 2019.

"My understanding from council reports is that there are still 12 cages at Kaitāia pound and no dogs are being exercised at either Kaitāia or Hōreke pounds."


"At various stages we've offered voluntary help to council and that's been knocked back. We want the council to demand that staff meet all their legal requirements," Exel said.

"Do what you're told, man up and do it."

The council has acknowledged the Kaitāia pound was rundown and approved funding for a new pound last year, but it was not due to be finished until June 2019.

Annette Inglis, who headed the Watchdogs' working group on the pounds, said the council was not complying with the infringement notice, eight months after it was served.

"They aren't exercising the dogs. They aren't providing warm bedding. When we asked for copies of the missing policies in February – four months after council was given the notice – they still didn't exist.

"In addition to those failures, the number of dogs dying when in the pound is actually increasing, and there isn't even a fulltime pound keeper. Council's published figures show they have one of the highest 'kill rates' in the country. It's appalling."

The infringement notice issued by the SPCA in October stated improvements were needed in provision of exercise, record-keeping, response protocols, cages and processes around care.

In a statement, FNDC district services manager Dean Myburgh said the Kaitāia pound, which was where the infringement notice was served on, was now only in limited use.

"Our facilities comply with the Animal Welfare Act and all dogs receive prompt veterinary care as required. They are appropriately fed and their enclosures [one dog per pen] are cleaned daily.

"We have taken this notice seriously and have met all but one of its requirements. Our remaining challenge is the regular exercise of dogs, which we have not been able to meet due to a lack of exercise areas and staff capacity to exercise each dog for 30 minutes every day. We are working on this."

The dogs were "sheltered and warm", he said.

As well as the minimum welfare requirements, Exel said the group wanted cameras in the pounds to ensure compliance and transparency. Myburgh said he was willing to meet with the group to discuss their concerns.