Group Manager Jane Donaldson: Responsible dog owners register their pets

Published: 22 September 2022

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The annual dog report was before Council this week and it was pleasing to see a good drop in the number of dogs impounded.

In the 12 months to 30 June 2022, 79 dogs were impounded, one euthanised and 11 re-homed; that compared to 107 dogs impounded in the previous 12-month period, one euthanised and 12 re-homed.

While the report has lots of figures around compliance and regulation, one that is of the most interest to us is around dog registration – it’s been our experience that dog owners who register their pets are also pretty responsible about ensuring their dog is well-behaved and contained.

So of the 82 infringement notices we issued for the period, most were for failing to register a dog. For the record, we had 6919 dogs registered, up from 6728 in the previous 12 months.

Council recorded 602 complaints about dogs, up from 591, and about two-thirds of these were from residents reporting wandering, barking and lost dogs.

Dog registration fees collected by Council are used to fund our animal control work and this is done by both Council staff and a contractor. The contractor covers all dog control callouts 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Unfortunately we still receive and investigate reports of attacking or rushing dogs and these are assessed carefully, before appropriate action is taken.

We see education as a key part of our dog control work, but persistent and serious offending can result in infringements, prosecution or fines. The vast majority of dog owners though love their pets and keep them under control, and we thank them.

Work at the Ashburton Dog Park has made good progress following the damage by floods last year. It has been held up recently by wet weather, but there’s just a gravel path to lay and some agility equipment to install before it’s officially finished. Council has received lots of positive feedback already from people using the new exercise areas there and the new carpark off Cass Street (by Kmart).

Another work in progress has been the Lakes Camp and Clearwater 30-year plan, adopted by Council on 17 August. We have been working on the first action points – which include protecting the sensitive southern side of Lake Camp by restricting 4WDs and ATVs.

This area is home to special flora and fauna but has been ripped up by larger vehicles, which are now prohibited. Visitors to the area will see signs advising of the new rules and Council is producing information to help spread the word about what sort of behaviour is expected.

This plan is a collaborative effort with the Department of Conservation, Environment Canterbury and Lake Clearwater hut-holders and we have a solid work plan aimed at protecting this special area and improving water quality in the lakes.

We’d like to think that everyone who enjoys spending time there will be on board too.

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