Dog attacks in the Rotorua Lakes area have dropped in the last three years. Sandra Conchie reports.
The number of dogs attacking animals has dropped by more than a third in the last three years.
Recent data obtained by the Rotorua Daily Post showed the number of dog attacks on animals had decreased to 18 last year compared to 33 in 2017 - more than 35 per cent.
In total, there were 79 dog attacks on animals in the last three years.
Rotorua Lakes Council's animal control supervisor Dylan Wright said attacks on animals included dogs, domestic cats and farm animals such as chickens, rabbits, and sheep.
"But it tends to be mainly dogs attacking other dogs," he said.
Eight sheep were killed by dogs on State Highway 30, Rotiti, in June 2019.
Three people were prosecuted last year, two were found guilty and charges were dismissed in a third case, with no pending prosecution cases this year, Wright said.
There was only one dog owner prosecuted in 2018 but the charges were withdrawn.
Wright said each attack was considered on a case-by-case basis in terms of prosecution.
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"Not many cases end up in court because, mostly, owners whose dogs have attacked understand the seriousness of the situation and are cooperative."
Wright said all dogs were capable of attacking in certain circumstances.
"Any attack is a cause for concern and highlights the responsibilities involved in owning a dog and the harm that can be caused by people failing in that responsibility."
"It's important when attacks occur that people contact us as soon as possible. We take all attacks seriously but it's crucial we are able to positively identify the dog or dogs which are responsible so the appropriate action can be taken."
Wright said it was vital that people also reported sightings of roaming dogs to prevent potential attacks.
If safe to do so, photograph the roaming animal, and note down a detailed description of the breed and location, and if known its address to assist animal control staff," he said.
Rotorua Lakes Council has seven animal control officers, with a minimum of four attending complaints and patrolling the district Monday to Friday and two on weekends.
Rotorua Lakes District dog attacks:
11,662 registered dogs in Rotorua
2019: 28 attacks on people
2018: 28 attacks on people
2017: 30 attacks on people
2019: 18 attacks on animals
2018: 28 attacks on animals
2017: 33 attacks on animals