Whanganui animal control has copped a fair amount of flak over the past few years.

So it, and the public, would have welcomed two news stories this week which indicate dog control in the district is improving.

The Whanganui District Council came under fire in 2014 for using gas to euthanise unwanted dogs prompting it to start using lethal injection instead.

That same year wandering dogs caught public attention and was in the news.


Former councillor Jack Bullock said at the time: "It is a concern when we've got people scared to walk to the dairy because of stray, roaming, aggressive dogs."

The council's dog pound is non-compliant and not fit for purpose.

Animal control - which has a tough job at the best of time - must have felt under attack.

But this week we learned a stronger focus on "quality" investigations and responses was beginning to reap rewards.

Infringements and impounding rates are up at the same time as complaints, especially for wandering dogs, are down.

One can only assumed the two are related.

Two attacks occurred recently but the owners are being prosecuted following investigation.

Incidents will still occur but the conscious effort put into reacting to calls is working.


However, animal control boss Warwick Zander said this week that has come at the cost of proactive work such as education.

Ideally we want both but it requires more ratepayer money.

Money on top of the $1million which the council might put towards a new compliant $1million pound.

It was endorsed by the council's property and community services committee last week but needs sign off from the council and some councillors have indicated their reluctance to spend the cash.

But Whanganui has one of the highest ownership rates in the country and a functioning dog control is a public good as is any council activity that we all pay for but may not all use.

Owners contribute more through registrations anyway.

While animal control are doing a better job on limited resources it's time they were given a new pound and further funding they need.