New Zealand Dog News

Reviewing the dog news in New Zealand with editors comments. Someone needs to keep reviewing how our dogs are doing in society.

August 22, 2008

Chisel is no threat: dog owner

Inconsistencies and short-comings in New Zealand's dog control legislation have been highlighted in a dispute over the "menacing" classification of a Te Kowhai dog.(...)

Council animal control manager Nicole Collins told the hearing she did not dispute the fact Chisel was of good temperament or purebred, but under government legislation the council had no choice but to classify "according to schedule".

Mr Brinkworth said "amstaffs" such as Chisel were a show dog, and completely harmless. "It is very unfair that you can classify a dog on its breed, and not its history," he said. "If we did this with people it would be called racism."

Mr Brinkworth tabled a list of 19 councils which did not categorise the breed as pit bulls.

Hearings sub-committee councillors Dynes Fulton and Graeme Tait have reserved their decision.


  • At 11:19 a.m., Blogger madparaglider said…

    It is not only the dogs on the breed hit list are being caught up by this act. Here is my story.

    Beware the Dog Parks

    One day in April of this year I took my dog a huntaway cross lab to my local dog park as I had done regularly as it is within walking distance of my home and my dog loved the freedom and interaction with other dogs. On this day my whole life was turned upside down in an instant.
    I noticed a woman with about 8 dogs who I have seen there before on several occasions who dislikes any attention from other dogs presumably as her dogs belong to other people and she needs to guarantee their safety, not easily achieved in a dog park, as she seemed to be headed for the gate to leave I decided to walk my dog on the opposite side of the field to avoid my dog coming into contact with her.
    A minute or so later another woman entered the park with a boxer and a spaniel, my dog likes to investigate new dogs entering the dog park so he ran over and started playing with the boxer, meanwhile the woman with the large number of dogs and her companion had taken some of her dogs into the car park to load them into her vehicle, leaving at least one other dog alone in the dog park as they clearly had too many dogs to try to control at once in the car park.
    The owner of the boxer and the spaniel was not comfortable with her boxer playing with my dog and was trying to separate them so I came over to retrieve my dog. During this time both she and myself were fully occupied with my dog and the boxer and were unaware of where the spaniel was until it came up to join the play at which point, unaware of any problem, I grabbed my dog and took him out of the dog park to walk him elsewhere.
    After I had left the dog park the woman with the large number of dogs apparently went to the other dog owner and told her, her spaniel had been injured and that my dog caused it.
    Later that day I was visited by the animal control officer to tell me there had been a complaint made against my dog and he took a statement. I protested at the time that he was investigating the wrong dog. About a week later the animal control officer returned to issue me with a notice that my dog had been classified as menacing and that I must keep him muzzled at all times whether in public or in our secure yard unless he is completely contained in either a vehicle or a cage. This means that we can’t even let the grandchildren play ball with him in our own yard !!
    I am involved in community and charity work and all the people I deal with plus friends and neighbours were horrified to hear of our plight as they all know him well and everybody who knows him really likes him. I quickly gathered many testimonials and petitions stating what a friendly, gentle and well mannered dog he is both with people and other dogs and together with a very positive report from a well respected local trainer I was sure that I could successfully appeal this classification, unfortunately this has not been the case.
    I received the outcome about a month after the appeal stating that one councilor was not convinced by the accusation and that the classification should be rescinded but the other two councilors did believe the accusation and in their view I did not have sufficient control over my dog at the time of the incident and that as a dog park is an exciting place for dogs that they must be under strict control at all times, which goes against the council description of dog parks as secure areas where your dog can run free and socialize with other dogs and people, which is all my dog has ever done.
    At the hearing, my partner admitted that as she has to do the late night walk, she walks him on a Halti which has a good muzzling effect and would prevent him biting which is what the act requires us to do and gives her complete control of the dog. She said she would not feel safe walking alone if the dog had the muzzle we were supplied with as it would be obvious to a would be attacker that the dog would be no defence to her. This point was also given as a reason for not rescinding the classification as I had not insisted that she uses the supplied muzzle.
    The injured dog which did require stitches to a skin tear has since made a full recovery and as this was a relatively minor injury with a correspondingly small vets bill, I paid the vets bill in order to prevent any further arguments as to who should pay the bill.
    As you can probably imagine, I feel greatly aggrieved by what I see as a serious injustice. I fully understand what the dog control acts are trying to achieve, I am sure the general public, like me are really are sick of the regular attacks on people by these unruly dogs owned by irresponsible owners, but if the application of this act affects well liked and well mannered dogs while the real menaces, which are probably too hard to deal with, are left untouched, the act will lose credibility.
    My advice is to unwary dog owners is to avoid dog parks like the plague because if your dog becomes involved in even a minor altercation where a dog gets injured, albeit a minor injury, you can expect the full might of this act to come down on your life and you will no longer be able to enjoy walking or playing with your dog as you do now and the public perception of a dog in a muzzle is that it must be a dangerous dog and they shy away from it. You will also find yourself the centre of attention from the animal control officer who has been seen by my neighbours snooping round my property, sitting outside my house for extended periods and he has even issued me with a false complaint notice where no complaint had been made. So beware the dog park.

  • At 1:38 p.m., Blogger Natalie said…

    Hi ya madparaglider...

    I really do believe that a person who makes a complain needs PROOF that it was the dog in question. -- and not just complain and let the complainant have the upper hand.

    I suppose you looked for the woman who you were helping to give corraborating evidence?!

    My dog was also issued a fine of $300 for walking without a lead on. Our dog was on the front page of The Press on a Saturday because he help catch a burglar. He had helped numerous people overcome their fear of dogs,.. but when we pointed that out, NAH nothing-- no gray areas.

    When we pointed out that the fine was written incorrectly and thought that they'd just write it off- NAH, they reissued the ticket. Da bas$#% rds.

    And you wonder why dog owners and young people have a disrespect for the law, especially when it's dished out to innocent people.

    Like they say- give a man a uniform, and you have just granted him total, and absolute power (in his head)

  • At 8:38 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Further to my story. I have got to the stage where i can get my dog to keep the muzzle on for long enough to start taking him back to the dog park. The only problem is that when he is approached by larger dogs he gets fearful, the other dogs pick up on this and he has been attacked 3 times now in just 2 weeks, something that never happened before the muzzle. One attack happened while he was on the lead, so I have had to abandon the dog park as I am concerned he might get injured and also change his lovely trusting nature to a complete basket case. Madparaglider.

  • At 8:58 p.m., Blogger Natalie said…

    If your dog fears dogs, I would not go to the dog park until he overcomes he's fear of dogs. Or go to the park during a time when you know there are no dogs around. And chose your dogs partners carefully.

    I can understand that he went 'backwards' in terms of his behaviour. Sad really..

    Have you thought of seeking advice of a dog trainer/behaviouralist in your area?

  • At 2:34 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We are working with a dog trainer but not since the muzzle went on. I guess we got something else to work on now..


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