The Department of Conservation (DOC) has begun legal proceedings against a Coromandel dog owner after the alleged discovery of a dead kiwi on private property near adjacent to public conservation land.

David Agnew, DOC's Acting Operations Manager in Whitianga, said DOC laid charges under the Dog Control Act after the remains of a kiwi were allegedly found near Papa Aroha coastal forest – a known kiwi habitat – in July last year.

Agnew said two dogs had been allegedly linked to the death of the kiwi through DNA evidence. The owner of the two dogs will appear in Thames District Court in March.

Eight kiwi were killed by dogs in the Coromandel area in 2019. Dogs are also a major killer of kiwi in Northland, and a Northland dog owner will appear in the Kaikohe District in March over a similar alleged incident in July 2018.

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Agnew said that, generally speaking, dog attacks on kiwi ''undermine significant long-term investment and work by DOC and its stakeholders and partners to protect these important birds,''.

Marta Lang Silveira, DOC's National Compliance Manager, said the Department took its compliance and legislative responsibilities seriously as it strived to protect NZ's native species.

She said dog owners had a key role to play in ensuring species like kiwi could survive in their natural habitats.

The Department will file charges under the Dog Control Act where it believed there was evidence dogs had killed kiwi. The maximum penalty the court can hand down in these cases is a $20,000 fine or up to three years in jail, and an order for the dogs to be destroyed.

Anyone who sees roaming dog on Public Conservation Land is urged to report it to 0800 DOC HOT.