Being attacked by an unregistered dog running out of an emergency housing motel was the last straw for retired Rotorua policeman Phil Spackman, who says "Rotorua has been trashed".
Spackman, a former senior sergeant who spent 35 years in the police and retired in 2000, said he was angry and disappointed about where Rotorua was heading and was concerned where it would end.
This was followed by a Government announcement to changes to emergency housing provision in Rotorua yesterday.
The Government has said it will directly contract motels in Rotorua to deliver emergency housing, making it easier for wrap-around support services to be delivered to whānau and tamariki living in motels.
Spackman, a Glenholme resident, was biking to the gym on Monday morning along Fenton St when a smaller breed dog ran out of a motel, rushed at him, nipped at his legs and knocked him off his bike.
He said a woman came out of the motel as the dog chased him down Fenton St.
"I got to the gym and I thought 'blow this, I will ring the council'."
The Rotorua Lakes Council said it issued the woman with an infringement and warned her to register her dog, which she has since done.
"I'm angry about the whole thing. Not because I don't think these people need to be helped and looked after but disappointed that there seems to be silence from community leaders on this."
Spackman said he lived close to some of the most frequented emergency housing motels on Fenton St and residents in the area endured fights, litter, swearing, dangerous driving, burnouts and dumped supermarket trolleys.
Family harm incidents were common. Spackman witnessed a man recently stop his vehicle in the middle of Sumner Rd, stand on the bonnet and yell and scream at a woman inside the vehicle. It lasted for several minutes and Spackman called the police.
Another time he saw a woman hiding behind the bushes of a neighbour's property, only to be found by a gang member who chased her down the road. Again, Spackman called the police.
"When is it all going to end? How are we going to get rid of these people? There's more of them now than there were living in Kuirau Park, and to say they haven't come from out of town is a nonsense.
"I've seen drug-dealing operating out of the motels, with people running in and out. I can look at these people and know what is happening there."
Spackman said he had absolute sympathy for people who found themselves homeless and fully understood that most were genuine.
"But boy, it has had an impact on Rotorua. The whole atmosphere around here has changed in Glenholme."
The manager of the motel where the dog came from, whom the Rotorua Daily Post agreed not to name, said he wasn't aware that the woman had a dog at the motel. He said he had since learned she had two dogs in the unit, which was against his motel's policy.
However, he said he wasn't able to easily "kick out" the woman until next week as the Ministry of Social Development had paid for the woman's accommodation in advance.
He said the motel generally didn't allow dogs unless they were very small.
"I can't kick her out until next week because Winz (MSD) has paid for it already. I am just the manager and would need to negotiate with the owners."
Rotorua district councillor Peter Bentley had a similar experience with a dog from a Fenton St motel at the end of January when his small dog was attacked by a large cross-breed.
Bentley, who was riding a mobility scooter to run his dog, gathered up his pet and tried to get away but was chased by the dog for about 1km all the way back to his property.
Bentley said he rang the council's animal control unit but was disappointed to learn the owner wasn't fined or the dog wasn't destroyed.
Bentley also claimed cars parked outside motels didn't have warrants and registrations.
"If you turn a blind eye to the little things, they start getting bigger and bigger. I was disappointed in the council's reaction.
"Other dog owners have to have their properties fenced, their dogs registered and restrained when out walking. Why are these people any different?"
Bentley said it was adding to a situation where he felt Rotorua's reputation was sliding.
"I listen to talkback [radio] and I hear people say they will never come back. What are we doing to ourselves? We spent so much money turning this city into a tourist town, now we are turning it into a prison camp."
Rotorua Lakes Council community and regulatory services manager Kurt Williams said the animal control team attended when Bentley complained.
In response to Bentley's complaint, Williams said the incident was reported as a roaming dog and the animal control team attended.
The dog was being looked after by a family member and their details were recorded. They were advised to keep the dog contained and to register it.
When the dog wasn't registered, Williams said the team returned to the property to seize the dog but the family had moved and hadn't been found since.
Williams said although the council didn't do random dog checks at motels, they had noticed an increase in complaints about dogs at motels during the past year.
Rotorua Motel Association chairman Mike Gallagher said the association didn't have a policy on the issue and it was up to guests to negotiate with moteliers.
"That sort of policy needs to go through MSD when they say 'here is a home, guys, but these are the rules and parameters'."
Ministry of Social Development housing general manager Karen Hocking said they knew how important pets were to people, as they could be a companion for many of their clients.
"However, having a pet can pose a problem for people needing housing as there are limited motels that will accept them."
She said they worked with clients to find accommodation that let them keep their pets.
"Sadly this can be a challenge for many New Zealanders in their search for housing, including our clients."
In response to the Rotorua motel manager's claims they weren't about to "kick out" the dog owner until the following week, Hocking said the issue of whether they were allowed pets and what the conditions were was at the discretion of the provider.
"What conditions may be in place concerning animals at motels would be agreed on between the property owner and the animal owner."