Just two animal control officers employed by Armourguard to cover Kaipara are responding to hundreds of complaints of wandering dogs in Dargaville alone.
The Kaipara District Council (KDC) has admitted its contracted dog control services may not be meeting community needs following a spate of complaints that culminated in a petition calling for action.
Understaffing and travelling distances, it said, may be contributing to a perceived lack of services by its animal control contractor, Armourguard.
KDC spokesman Ben Hope said Armourguard has one day officer and another for night duties, and two back-up officers were available from Whangārei if required.
The company is also contracted by the Whangārei District Council to provide its animal control services.
As KDC prepares to meet later this month to discuss roaming dogs, retiree Graham Jones from Dargaville is assessing community support for a public meeting to ramp up pressure on the territorial authority to better deal with the problem.
Jones organised a 111-signature petition which he 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.
Between July last year and March this year, KDC has received 316 reports of wandering dogs in Dargaville alone while Armourguard carried out 357 dog patrols over the same period.
KDC is reviewing animal control services Armourguard is providing, including looking at utilising a contractor to provide after-hours callouts and on public holidays.
There was a perception of customer dissatisfaction, it said, that has resulted in an increase in complaints the council has received in the last 12 months with regards to roaming dogs.
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"There is now a growing reality that the currently contracted services may not be meeting the needs of the Dargaville community in particular," the council said.
Results of the review are expected to be reported at the KDC meeting, to be held in Kaihu, on May 30.
The council has set key performance indicators for Armourguard in terms of the level of its services at 95 per cent.
But Jones is far from happy.
"In my view, they're in cuckoo land and completely deficient in what is required to eliminate the existing problems."
Jones is calling on people to support his call for a public meeting prior to the KDC meeting and would love to see a turnout of at least 100.
"It's through strength in numbers that we can bring about change. If people want change, they've got to be prepared to stand up and demand it."
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.
KDC said Armourguard has carried out more patrols for wandering dogs in Dargaville in the previous nine months, especially in five hot-spot areas.
The patrols are being carried out at varying hours to give a better picture, scope and extent of the uncontrolled dog issues specific to the Dargaville township area.
Last month Dargaville residents told the Northern Advocate they were too scared to go out on their own streets because of the roaming dog problem.
Residents reported seeing animals "ripped to shreds" by roaming dogs and feel not enough is being done about the dog problems.
In early April Isobel Ross was walking Mac down Hokianga Rd in Dargaville when he was attacked by a pitbull, causing "horrendous" injuries.
To report wandering or aggressive dogs the KDC animal control team is on 0800 105 890, 24/7.
Kaikohe also has a wandering dog problem.
Last year 95-year-old Kaikohe man Jim Morgan and his beloved pet, Sandy, were attacked twice in Harold St, with the dog not surviving the second attack.
Since the second attack on December 16, 20 stray dogs had been impounded in the Kaikohe area.