A group is calling for changes to Whanganui District Council's animal control policies after getting fed up with continued sightings of the same roaming dogs.
They claim some of the dogs end up mauling other animals and are collecting a petition to hand to council at the end of the month.
The Facebook page "Protect Wanganui from Roaming, Menacing Dogs" was started this month and a petition has been put together to call for change.
Petition organiser Jane Frericks said the current policy was too lenient for owners whose dogs repeatedly roam.
"I'm seeing the same thing happening over and over again where dogs would be seen and reported, then taken back to their owners," she said.
"Why don't council keep them and not give them back until owners have done education or paid fines?"
A poll on the group's Facebook page shows members are in favour of fines and education, or for dogs to be euthanised if it's proven they've mauled another animal.
Members of the group also share sightings of roaming dogs or stories of their cats being mauled to death.
Almost 300 people have joined the online group, which Frericks said is picking up interest because incidents of roaming dog attacks seem to be increasing.
"I'm really encouraged that people are supporting this and have had a gutsful," she said.
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"There are so many cats [getting attacked], and there's several adults who have been mauled walking down the street."
So far this year nine attacks on people by dogs were reported to Whanganui District Council for investigation.
Most of the incidents occurred as the victim was entering or leaving a property that had a dog, and involved a bite to a leg or an arm.
Whanganui District Council's compliance operations manager, Warrick Zander, said Whanganui had one of the highest rates of dog ownership in the country.
The number of known dogs in the district varies yearly between 7,900 and 8,000; on average we believe we have a ratio of one dog to every 5.7 people.
Although the page is getting support, Frericks said some posts have had to be removed because of abuse from dog owners.
Last month a Castlecliff family was devastated to find a dog had jumped their property's fence and killed their pet goat and 13 chickens.
Frericks went through a similar experience when a roaming dog got into her property and killed her chickens a few years ago.
"We couldn't work out how the dog got in, but there was blood and feathers trailing down the road and we figured out where it came from.
"We told animal control who said they were aware of the dogs which were known for roaming. The owners acknowledged that their dog had roamed and killed the chickens."
Frericks said even though animal control knew the dogs would roam and the owners were informed their dog had just mauled chickens, the next night the same dog came back and killed the rest of her chickens. READ MORE:
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Frericks said mistakes can happen where gates are accidentally left open, but owners who don't properly fence in their dog should receive more than just a "slap on the wrist".
Zander said penalties for owners of dogs which attack or kill an animal depend on the seriousness of the incident.
"Penalties range from loss of the owner's responsible dog owner status, formal warning, an infringement, the dog formally classified as menacing or dangerous, and prosecution through the courts."
Zander said dog attacks or rushing are given immediate priority by animal management staff with contact or attendance required within one hour of the report.
An attack on a person is considered a serious incident which would typically result in an escalated response.
The council team is currently made up of three animal management officers, one educational officer and one administrator/pound officer.
The petition calling for changes to animal management enforcement will be given to council at the end of the month.
The petition states:
• We want dogs roaming the streets of Wanganui to be picked up speedily (currently they are often seen roaming for weeks after being reported).
• We want to be able to walk in public parks without fear of being rushed at and jumped on by out-of-control, off leash dogs.
• We want repeat offender owners of roaming dogs, or dogs that maul/kill other animals or people actively prevented from owning more animals.