With a busy time of year in full swing, Rotorua's Animal Council team shares its role in the community and how important dog safety is.
Rotorua Lakes Council's team lead Animal Control Dylan Wright says summer is a busy time of year for council's Animal Control team.
"The warm weather and longer daylight hours mean people are out-and-about with their dogs and families more, which can create increased opportunities for dogs to run off or get into situations where Animal Control needs to be called in.
"Additionally, people tend to go away at this time of year, and sadly we often see dogs left at home, alone, for long stretches of time which can lead to barking complaints and increased roaming."
He says currently the pound is holding about 23 dogs and has capacity to hold up to around 100 dogs.
From January 14, 2020 to January 14, 2021, 1066 dogs were impounded.
Dylan says dogs are impounded for various reasons.
They may be picked up as a stray or for roaming, seized by Animal Control due to safety concerns, surrendered to council, or dumped at the pound, he says.
"We work hard to reunite dogs with owners where possible and appropriate, but many dogs are never claimed and our team does their best to find them new homes."
Dylan says the key responsibilities of a dog owner are to care for their dog, keep other people and animals safe around their dog, and to ensure dogs are secured on properties at all times.
"Roaming dogs can lead to attacks, which is what our team works hard to minimise.
"If people are thinking about getting a dog, the Rotorua Pound Homeless Hounds Facebook group (@HomelessHoundsRotorua) is a great place to look."
This group was set up in early 2020 as another way to find new homes for dogs that have come into the pound and are suitable and ready for adoption.
"The group has some great success stories and provides information about requirements and fees, and details about the pound."
Dylan says part of the Animal Control team's job is to educate the community about dog safety.
"It is important for people to remember that any dog can bite if it is hurt, frightened or teased – even the friendliest dog.
"Most dog-related injuries happen to children, in their own home or the home of a relative or a friend and by a dog that they know.
"It is important for parents and caregivers to ensure small children are supervised around dogs at all times because they can unwittingly provoke an attack.
"For example, by trying to take a bone away from a dog, hugging or kissing the dog, or by over-exciting a dog with games which can lead to the dog jumping on, or chasing, the child."
He says dog attacks and dog-related injuries are traumatic for all involved.
"Teaching children basic safety habits around dogs, with parents and caregivers showing the way, can help prevent these situations from occurring."
Dog safety tips for kids can be found at www.dogsafety.govt.nz.
- The pound is open to the public Monday to Friday between 2pm and 4.30pm if people would like to meet a dog they have seen in the group.