The Kaipara District Council is investigating concerns raised by more than 100 ratepayers calling for urgent action to stop uncontrolled dogs in suburban streets of Dargaville.

Retiree Graham Jones last month presented to KDC a petition that attracted 111 signatures, calling on the territorial authority to go house-to-house to check on the number of dogs on properties, how many were registered, and how they were managed.

Where unregistered dogs are found, the petitioners said the animals must be immediately registered or else they should be impounded.

If applicable fines were not paid for keeping unregistered dogs, they be either destroyed or be offered to new owners.


KDC accepted the petition at its meeting last month and has directed its chief executive to investigate the issues raised by the petitioners and to report back at its next meeting, scheduled for May 2.

Between July last year and February this year, KDC animal control officers have received 302 complaints of wandering dogs.

Jones said innocent members of the public were prisoners in their own homes as they were too scared to go out for morning and evening walks because of roaming dogs.

The number of presumably unlicensed dogs that included pit bulls and hunting dogs, he said, appeared to have increased in the last few years and claimed KDC animal control officers have been of little help.

Jones would have been attacked by a pack of five hunting dogs while taking a stroll on Dargaville High School grounds in January had it not been for an umbrella he was carrying.

"They were hellbent on doing something to me. I couldn't run on five to six acres of paddock. Nobody can outrun a dog. One tried to get at my legs from behind," he recalled.

"I waved my umbrella around and was able to get away. Mostly roaming dogs are seen early in the morning and early evenings when people are out and about."

He's disappointed KDC decided at its meeting last month to postpone the matter to its meeting in May.


KDC spokesman Ben Hope said over the past 12 months, animal management patrols within the problem areas have increased in response to concerns from the public.

"The patrols are being strategically carried out at varying hours to give a better picture, scope and extent of the uncontrolled dog issues specific to the Dargaville township area.

"The results of the patrols to date have led to council currently undertake a review of how the animal control service is managed and delivered, this may result in bringing the animal management officer service partially 'in house'."

Wandering dogs continue to be a problem in other parts of Northland.

Animal management officers in the Far North district conducted random dog registration checks on 21 streets since launching its house-to-house campaign last October.

They checked details for 218 dogs, issued 49 notices to register, and 27 notices to occupants when they were not at home but there was an unregistered dog on the property.

Last month, 95-year-old Kaikohe resident Jim Morgan was attacked by two dogs, one of them tearing his shorts and leaving bite marks on his hip.

It was the second time Morgan had been encountered unleashed dogs. In December last year is pet dog sandy had to be put down after being attacked by six dogs.

Kaikohe resident Jim Morgan was attacked by two dogs that left bite marks on his hip. Photo/Peter de Graaf
Kaikohe resident Jim Morgan was attacked by two dogs that left bite marks on his hip. Photo/Peter de Graaf

The Whangārei District Council receives an average of 149 complaints about wandering dogs every month.

"Each complaint is investigated and where dogs are found wandering, these are impounded pending further action," WDC manager health and bylaws, Reiner Mussle said.