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Environmental Monitoring Manager Rick Catchpowle says, "We believe education is the key to avoiding situations like those highlighted in the media over the last few weeks around the country."
"Dogs should always be under control by their owners, and in the case of those dogs in the Ashburton district listed as dangerous or menacing, these must be neutered and muzzled when in public," he added.
Mr Catchpowle says 38 priority one dog complaints were reported to Ashburton District Council in 2015 and this includes dog attacks on people.
As part of a dog education campaign, Ashburton District Council animal control officer Andrea McMurray is continuing to introduce the "DogSmart" program in schools. This is a free dog safety and bite prevention programme that promotes safety around dogs, particularly for young children.
The program was developed by the Christchurch City Council Animal Control Education Team and is aligned with the NZ Education Curriculum. It is available to members of the New Zealand Institute of Animal Control Officers to present to primary schools throughout the country. Ms McMurray trained with the Christchurch City Council Animal Control Education Team with her family pet, Roxy and has already made six interactive presentations to schools in Mid Canterbury.
Ms McMurray says the programme – which has been extremely well received in the schools she has presented at - is designed to help students become more aware of how to reduce the risk around dogs and be less likely to become a statistic.
The programme reinforces the key safety messages of "If the dog’s on its own, leave it alone" and covers how to be safe when meeting a dog, including what to do before approaching a dog. Contact the Council on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 307-7700 to enquire about the ADC DogSmart programme coming to your school.