Hackles are raised in Dargaville as the Kaipara District Council concludes its dog policy review.

Retired Dargaville resident Graham Jones said there was nothing in the KDC's adopted Policy on Dogs and a Dog Management Bylaw that specifically addressed the problem of wandering dogs.

KDC received 241 submissions on its Policy on Dogs and the bylaw which were adopted at a council meeting last month.

In its report to the KDC, a hearing panel that heard public submissions listed people's concerns in different areas of Kaipara, and recommended places where dogs should be on and off their leash.


But Jones said what was needed was for KDC to clearly communicate to its ratepayers how it planned to address the issue that has plagued residents of Dargaville for two to three years - wandering dogs.

Also important, he said, was for KDC to inform ratepayers what happened to menacing dogs that have been impounded.

"It's really disappointing. To me, the whole essence of complaints from people were in regards to the fact their policing wasn't able to pick up the wandering dogs.

"We never had complaints about the dogs bylaw. Our complaints were about a lack of enforcement yet we're not told in the review what the council will do about it," Jones said.

He instigated a petition that garnered 111 signatures which was presented to KDC in April, calling on council staff to go house to house to check on the number of dogs on properties, how many were registered, and how they were managed.

KDC spokesman Ben Hope said the bylaw review has a defined scope that could look at how regulations and enforcement of Kaipara aligned with the Dog Control Act 1996.

Hope said wandering dogs were in breach of both the Act and bylaw, and that KDC would do its best to action complaints on those dogs as it was able to.

It was planned that bringing contracted animal control service in-house from Armourguard would allow more proactive education and animal management, he said.


More than 300 complaints about wandering dogs prompted KDC to ditch Armourguard and bring animal, parking and noise controls in-house from March next year or earlier.

"However, the main responsibility of wandering dogs lies with the owners of those pets. When you take ownership of a dog, you agree to meet the responsibilities of that ownership, alongside restraining and keeping them from wandering on to others' property," Hope said.

Armourguard has employed just two animal control officers to respond to hundreds of complaints of wandering dogs in Dargaville alone. Two back-up officers are available from Whangārei if required.

Armourguard's three-year contract with KDC ends in September but will be renewed on a month-to-month basis to allow a safe transition, including helping the council hire and train staff. KDC hopes to fully take over no later than March 2020.