Ashburton District's wandering and unregistered dogs now have a safer and more secure environment at the Ashburton District Council's new purpose-built dog pound.
From this month impounded dogs will be housed in the facility which provides more comfortable kennels as well as a secure exercise area for all the dogs.
The construction budget to build the dog pound: $576,000 plus GST.
The facility can house up to 14 dogs on a day to day basis with the option of using eight external runs as additional kennels, should the need arise, and can therefore accommodate a maximum capacity of 22 dogs.
The new facility, replacing the temporary one Council staff had been working from, provides staff with a better space to work in and incorporates a medical room for micro-chipping, a separate external area for temperament testing of dogs being rehomed and two quarantine kennels.
The building has been installed with CCTV cameras and alarms and is regularly patrolled by a security company.
Environmental Monitoring Manager Rick Catchpowle says the most common reasons for dogs ending up in the pound are; not being registered or they have been picked up roaming the streets.
"While the impounding of animals is a last resort, we can now confidently house those animals in a quality facility which meets legislative and welfare requirements."
There are currently about 7000 registered dogs in the district. The Dog Control Act 1996 requires all dogs over three months old to be registered under this Act for the current registration year.
Mr Catchpowle says if a dog arrives at the pound registered and wearing its tag or is micro-chipped the owner can be contacted and reunited with their pet very quickly.
"Getting a dog back to its owner is the best outcome for everyone involved and thankfully that happens quite often. However, there are situations where a dog arrives that's not registered and/or micro-chipped, making it very difficult to locate the owner."
If an impounded dog is not claimed by its owner after seven days it then becomes the property of the Ashburton District Council. Unclaimed dogs are then temperament assessed and those suitable for re-homing are advertised for adoption.