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.

October 26, 2009

Timaru family sad at loss of dog

Timaru dog breeder Jaimee Broomhall is mystified by the city pound's response to her offer to foster a stray dog.

When a black labrador wandered up her Wilson St drive on Wednesday night, Mrs Broomhall thought she did the right thing when she notified the Timaru District Council and radio stations the next morning.

The dog, about six months old, made an immediate impression on her.

"He had obviously been looked after by somebody. He had been fixed and he was quite obedient," Mrs Broomhall said.

When the pound called her back on Thursday afternoon, Mrs Broomhall, who has bred dogs for four years, offered to care for the labrador while his owner was sought. If an owner was not found, with her breeder's contacts, she already knew of a farm which would adopt him.

Mrs Broomhall said she was told her offer was unusual and would need to be OKed.

When she spoke to the pound again she was told it "might have a possible owner of the dog and could they come and collect him?"

When a council worker arrived and did not find a microchip, it appeared the dog's owner had not been found, and the council still intended to take it to the pound – despite Mrs Broomhall and her husband suggesting they continue to care for it until its owner claimed it. "I thought he [was] obviously not thinking of the welfare of the animal at all."

Mrs Broomhall could not understand why the council would not work with her. "I couldn't understand why he wanted to take the dog out of a nice warm home. It's more money for them to look after than to leave him here. It's just totally selfish."

She was further frustrated when told she could have the dog back in seven days if she paid $100 to cover desexing, microchipping and registration.

Mrs Broomhall said she would have been willing to pay $40 – what she estimated it would cost to microchip and register the dog. She did not see the need to pay for desexing a neutered animal.

Council building and environmental services manager David Armstrong defended the council's approach, saying it was bound by the Dog Control Act.

Once the council was told of the situation, it had to take control of the dog, he said. "The Act puts onus on us to impound dogs and look after them in a certain manner. There's no provision in the act for fostering [animals]. Unfortunately we can't do that."

Ya gotta be joking... I mean, don't the council have grey areas !!

The Act ensured that if an owner did lose their dog the council would respond in the best interests of the dog. If an owner called and was told to collect their dog from a stranger, they might not be happy. The council's procedure was not to be taken as a reflection on Mrs Broomhall's ability to care for the dog, Mr Armstrong said. "That's not saying this lady wouldn't have done all these things."

Mr Armstrong said the situation was unusual because the dog had been desexed but not microchipped. He was willing to discuss the matter with Mrs Broomhall.

Trusty dog a key player in Aisling search

A trusty border collie cross has been revealed as a key player in the tragic search and discovery of toddler Aisling Symes' body.

Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey has personally written to 63-year-old Rex Wahrlich, owner of 5-year-old Rusty, thanking him for the canine's part in the search last week.

When the toddler went missing, Wahrlich wanted to help. He first joined the search in Riverpark Cres with Rusty on October 7, two days after the 2-year-old went missing.

He spent five hours walking around the area looking for her. Five days later he returned with Rusty to Longburn Rd, where Aisling was last seen, and was intrigued by the dog's behaviour.

Rusty was suspicious about the drain on the property. "The dog started going off and tried to pull me down to that area."

This is quite amazing... did the dog know the child? How did it know that the child was in the drain when clearly the sense had gone.

Seeing the area around the drain manhole was flooded, Wahrlich instead walked Rusty around the back of nearby Pomaria Rd.

He said the drain water was "bubbling up", indicating the drain was blocked.

Rusty was also behaving strangely, yelping at the water.

"She talks to me," Wahrlich said. "I let her off the chain and she went down to the river where the drain was flowing."

Wahrlich said Rusty was showing a lot of interest in the water coming out from the drain. "I spoke to a police officer and I told him it needed investigating but they didn't seem too interested."

Cops don't like psychics human and/or dog!

Rusty's behaviour weighed on his mind and he called the police hotline with his concerns. When he couldn't get through, he called Waitakere City Council and said he was worried about the drain.

The council passed on the information to police and later that day the police searched the drain. Aisling's body was found about 8pm.

Wahrlich said the discovery of Aisling's body filled him with sadness but he was also relieved the ordeal was over for her parents and family.

He is pleased Rusty was helpful in the search. "My dog is part of the family, she's a brilliant dog. This dog would give her life for me."

I can believe it. I'm presently reading Merle's Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog and this book really gives the dog species something to be proud of. I'm sure all the dogs are thankful for Ted's (author) ability of writing what man and dog companionship is really about. I wished I lived in Kelly, as that town doesn't have any fences, leash laws... dogs know their place, and they don't get territorial about it because they are one big happy family!

After Aisling's body was found, Bob Harvey wrote to thank Wahrlich. "I thank you for bringing your dog to join the search and I am sure that your dog helped to locate the drain," wrote Harvey.

The story of Wahrlich and Rusty has made headlines in the Irish Daily Mail - Aisling's father Alan's home country.

Meanwhile, Waitakere City Council says it will release a report this week into its management of the drain. Residents say they had complained about the drain flooding before Aisling disappeared.

October 24, 2009

Minogue Park plans anger dog lovers, residents

Dog lovers and residents have accused Hamilton City Council of "paving paradise to put up a parking lot" during public submissions over changes to Forest Lake's Minogue Park.

The council plans to create four sports fields and two cricket ovals which would reduce the park's open spaces and dog exercise areas. Two car parks and new roads to cater for the extra sporting traffic are also part of the draft Minogue Park management plan which concerned some of the 14 submitters, most of whom were against the development, at Wednesday's community and environment committee.

But parks and gardens manager Bill Featherstone said the 44-hectare park, which is already home to the Hamilton City Netball Centre, Hamilton BMX Club, Hamilton Model Engineers Club, Waterworld Te Rapa and Lake Rotokaeo, was bought in the 1980s for both passive and active recreation.

The land designated for the new playing fields had been especially levelled for them but no funding had been allocated for the development in the 10-year long-term council community plan.

The project had been put off because of cost. But Tracy Wilde of the Hamilton Dog Obedience Club and SPCA said a reduced off-lead area for dogs would cause problems for the community.

Research and Markets: Dog care in New Zealand to 2013

DUBLIN--(Business Wire)--
Research and Markets
( has
announced the addition of the "Dog care in New Zealand to 2013" report to their

This databook provides key data and information on the dog care market in New
Zealand. This report is a comprehensive resource for market, category and
segment level data including value, volume, distribution share and company &
brand share. This report also provides expenditure and consumption data for the
historic and forecast periods.


* Contains information on three categories: dog food, dog toys and dog chews &
* Market,category and segment level information on value, volume, and
expenditure & consumption, with historic (2003-2008) and forecast (2009-2013)
* Category level company and brand share as well as distribution share
information for 2007 and 2008
* Review of the top two companies within the dog care market, including company
overview, key facts and business description


Dog law debate

Local Government Minister Rodney Hide announced a review of the Dog Control Act last week.

However, Mr Hide, a proponent of more freedom for responsible dog owners said that a review of the Act is not a priority and is still a couple of years away.

Spokesperson for Local Government New Zealand Dianne Hale said that dog laws are highly emotive for many people.

"Protecting the public from dangerous dogs should be at the forefront of a review of the Dog Control Act," she said. MORE>>

October 23, 2009

Ditching dogs for the planet not an option

Linda Finlay will not be giving up her dogs any time soon – despite a call from researchers to swap dogs and cats for pets they can eat, like rabbits or chickens.

A longtime dog lover and dog training club member, Mrs Findlay couldn't imagine a life without Thomas, Zarah and Zoe – even if the Bernese Mountain Dog crosses and Alsatian labrador cross do have a carbon pawprint bigger than a Land Cruiser.

"They're like part of the family," Mrs Findlay said.

Victoria University professors Brenda and Robert Vale, architects who specialise in sustainable living, have recommended pet owners consider what impact their animals have on the environment in their book Time to Eat the Dog: The real guide to sustainable living.

The couple assessed the carbon emissions created by popular pets, taking into account the ingredients of pet food and the land needed to create them. MORE>>

They really got us talking about our pets, but it is sort of ludicrous to actually assess the carbon emissions, and think that dogs ONLY eat processed food! And besides, the processed food is the scraps that manufacturers don't actually want. It's not as if you are using the land to grow ONLY dog food!

Really rich for them to compare them to Landcruisers which take all incentive for exericise, like you would do for and with your dog, and the increase levels of oxitocins, and general better health. How does that equate in their calculations!

October 22, 2009

Save the planet: eat a dog?

Perhaps the title should read: Save the planet, pat a dog!

The poor dog... why pick on him for!

The eco-pawprint of a pet dog is twice that of a 4.6-litre Land Cruiser driven 10,000 kilometres a year, researchers have found.

Victoria University professors Brenda and Robert Vale, architects who specialise in sustainable living, say pet owners should swap cats and dogs for creatures they can eat, such as chickens or rabbits, in their provocative new book Time to Eat the Dog: The real guide to sustainable living.

The couple have assessed the carbon emissions created bypopular pets, taking into account the ingredients of pet food and the land needed to create them.

"If you have a German shepherd or similar-sized dog, for example, its impact every year is exactly the same as driving a large car around," Brenda Vale said. MORE>>

October 19, 2009

Tougher animal cruelty punishments needed

A group of senior lawyers is calling for higher maximum sentences in cases of extreme animal cruelty.

The pro bono "panel of prosecutors", which offers free legal services to the Auckland SPCA, said higher sentences would send a clear message that violence against animals was unacceptable .

The panel was set up in April to help the SPCA meet the costs of prosecutions.

Panel member David Jones QC said sentences imposed in cases of extreme animal abuse fell considerably short of the maximum penalty.

While the law allowed for sentences of up to three years' jail, the longest sentence imposed was 12 months, which was subsequently reduced to 10.

Actual sentences would increase if the maximum penalty was raised to five years, Mr Jones told the Auckland Law Society newsletter Law News.

"This would add to the effectiveness of animal welfare legislation and bring home to the public that animal cruelty is not acceptable." MORE>>

Ex-SPCA staff fear policy dooms pets

Former Waikato SPCA workers and volunteers claim a new policy will see the organisation put down more abused and distressed animals.

They say they are also worried that inexperienced staff at the organisation will not cope with the busy upcoming "kitten season".

Both allegations have been rejected by the SPCA's chief executive, Liz Hunter, who put them down to "disgruntled" former employees.

Former SPCA receptionist Emma Joines fears new assessment policies brought in by Mrs Hunter will raise the number of animals put down.

She said Mrs Hunter, formerly the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants midland region manager, did not understand the role of the SPCA as a charitable organisation and had introduced a corporate culture which was not benefiting the animals.

All but one of the eight staff she worked with last year were no longer employed at the SPCA, Ms Joines said. Inexperienced staff with little training might not be able to distinguish simple ailments from serious ones. They were also unsuitable to work with traumatised animals.


Milford goes to the dogs

Milford on Auckland's North Shore went to the dogs on Saturday when more than 1300 pooches took to the streets for the Champ Wag 'n Walk.

Dogs of all shapes, sizes and breeds, from a 106kg french mastiff to tiny miniature poodles, came together.

More than $6000 was raised for SPCA Auckland during the day, which included a 3km road walk, entertainment, competitions, a dog expo and fundraising. MORE>>

October 15, 2009

Dog-killing toxin found in Thames

The first death of a dog from toxic slugs has been reported outside Auckland.

Buddy, a 12-year-old female beardy cross, died soon after her owners stopped at Tapu Beach, about 20 minutes north of Thames in the Firth of Thames, on September 30.

She was the sixth dog to die from TTX poisoning.

During August and September, at least 15 dogs showed symptoms consistent with TTX poisoning after eating slugs at Auckland beaches. MORE>>

Bob Kerridge: Minister Hide barking up right tree with review of dog laws

When I invited Rodney Hide to address our 20th NZ Companion Animal Conference on dog control in his capacity as the Minister of Local Government, I knew we were likely to be enlightened by a politician who is both knowledgeable and has no problem in speaking his mind.

No one was disappointed.

Mr Hide outlined his plan for a "first principles" review of the dog laws unfettered by instances of savage attacks and the resultant public outcry that were responsible for some earlier "muddled" legislation, a point applauded by a Herald editorial.


The minister was also concerned about microchipping - not the principle of it as an ideal tool for reuniting dogs with their owners, but of the behind-the-scenes dog database which is simply not doing the job of retrieval because of its lack of accessibility to those who need it.

There is a simple commercial remedy to that on which the minister will soon be fully enlightened.

Of greatest comfort to me is Mr Hide's view of focusing the responsibilities of dog ownership on the owners, without unduly impacting on their enjoyment of ownership, while directly targeting those who are irresponsible.

Here, following the clear support of the conference delegates, the minister is open-minded to the possibility of licensing owners rather than their dogs.



Very nice article Bob.. and explains what went on in the room as her was there, like I was.

Tempers flare at dog-death meeting


The meeting, chaired by North Shore City councillor Chris Darby, was set up so residents could ask questions of government agencies about the poisonings and deaths of dogs at Cheltenham and Narrow Neck and of the dolphin deaths in the Hauraki Gulf.

The hostility continued after Ms Bird was ejected when residents called out obscenities several times during the presentations and when they were invited to ask questions of the DoC, Auckland Regional Council and Auckland Regional Public Health Service staff.

Six dogs died and 15 others became unwell with symptoms consistent with ingestion of tetrodotoxin, a drug that can kill a human with a dose the size of two paper clips.

..... MORE>>

October 12, 2009

Phoebe the Dalmatian is Service Dog of the Year

Phoebe the Dalmatian has a heart of gold.

The 11-year-old Nelson pooch has a long list of community-based roles, and no matter what, is always kind, calm and loving.

Phoebe is used to educate children, teach dogs better manners, ease people's dog fears, socialise old dogs and comfort the lonely.

Now, the pooch has been awarded the Service Dog of the Year award at the National Dog Show. The 11-year-old, who loves her food and sleeps on her owner's bed, got on an aircraft for the first time last weekend. Along with her owner, Steph Loader, a Halifax Veterinary Centre canine behaviourist, she flew to Feilding to receive the award, which included a "beautiful" sash and a year's supply of dog food. "After all the things she has done in Nelson, it was really nice for her to be recognised," Ms Loader said.

Phoebe's down-to-earth personality could be put down to having good dog parents and being trained properly, Ms Loader said.

"She is calm and amazingly chilled out. She thinks about her stomach a lot. She is really kind – you could do anything and she would never bite.

"She has had a varied and long career in the community." MORE>>

Editorial: Time to look at all aspects of dog laws


A complete review is bound to encompass two other contentious areas - the banning of some breeds and microchipping. Both of these contain elements of the muddled thinking referred to by the minister. It was never clear how embedding identifying microchips between dogs' shoulder blades would avert attacks or, indeed, solve any problem other than uniting lost dogs with their owners. The review will surely find that, because they are not serving their intended purpose, they cannot be providing value for money.

Extending the list of banned breeds was touted by the previous Government. It overlooks the fact that dogs of any breed are capable of attacking people if they are not trained well or are mistreated by their owners. Additionally, experience overseas points to the problems of breed identification that arise. The whole approach smacks of the simplicity that mars the existing legislation. More usefully, the review could consider other over-reaching aspects of that law, including fencing requirements that dictate unobstructed access to at least one door. Clear warnings should, indeed, provide sufficient notice to people entering private property.


Dog handler stays the distance

It has been 13 years since Arrowtown resident Brent MacDonald first decided to have a go at becoming a LandSAR avalanche dog handler - and he has not looked back. Mr MacDonald, The Remarkables Ski Area maintenance manager, came from a farming background and when he started at the ski area, he met a colleague with an avalanche dog.

Soon after, he got a black Labrador puppy and began training it, but hip dysplasia set in when the dog was 4 years old.

Then came Ella, a now 9-year-old black Labrador, who first qualified as an operational avalanche dog when she was just over a year old, and has remained operational ever since.

"I put into her what I'd learned from the first dog. The first one was strictly avalanche [searching]. Ella is wilderness tracking and [operational] avalanche."

While wilderness tracking dogs search for tracks and air-scent dogs follow scent on the wind, avalanche dogs are searching for a "cone" of scent buried deep in the snow.

The training involves associating a toy with human scent, so when an avalanche occurs, the dog - thinking it is a game - tries to find the human.

And when it does, it gets its toy.

A dog's breakfast

Editorial - An opinion

When the Clark government, responding to particularly widely publicised dog attacks on children in Auckland, decided to require mandatory micro-chipping as its preferred antidote, there were howls of criticism from responsible dog owners and those who use farm dogs.

Despite the fact the law dealt adequately with those owners responsible for dog attacks, and the offending dogs were executed, Labour felt it needed to be seen to be doing something and it chose microchipping (later amended to exclude working and companion dogs) rather than the even more controversial banning of certain breeds or licensing owners. At least they understood that breed legislation doesn't work!

The microchipping law was, of course, pointless, since providing a dog with an electronic tag will not prevent it from attacking. Thank you...

But, since July 2006, it has been mandatory for all pups registered for the first time, and for older dogs impounded more than once or classified as menacing or dangerous.

Interestingly, it seems that dogs may have benefited most from the law since fewer dogs have been put down in the Dunedin animal control area, for example, since it became mandatory to microchip.

Clearly, identifying dogs has been made easier. I hope so, wasn't that the point? But wasn't it to really identify bad owners with dogs, from no fault of their own, are not society's most wanted?

But now the Act New Zealand leader and Local Government Minister Rodney Hide is proposing a full review of dog laws in the belief that they are too onerous on dogs and dog owners.
It is a proposal likely to prove controversial. That's okay.. that's why we have reviews... to see if it's working, to change what's not.

He is on sound ground in arguing that some dog-control legislation is a consequence of emotion rather than good sense, but his belief that local bodies, which administer the law, are taking their powers too far is certainly a view that could not be evenly shared around all local bodies. True, some local councils are doing a good job, but looking at Dunedin's past and it's okaying of killing pups due to their breed, well... you can see why Mr Hide thinks that there needs to be a review.

Some have very effective control teams and a good balance between administering the law and not being too oppressive.

Others could certainly improve.

The core problem, as always, is with the irresponsible and uncaring dog owners, those who thumb their noses at the law, or who believe dog ownership gives them unchallengeable rights.
That is where any review should be focused. Yup! and why would people own dogs that they don't want to register?! What do they want to protect?? This is a wider question than most people imagine.


Dog control officers welcome Govt review

Any review of dog control laws must include local body dog control officers, says the city council's animal services boss.

Brent Lincoln, team leader for animal services at Tauranga City Council, welcomed the review announced this week by Local Government Minister Rodney Hide.

Mr Lincoln said his only request would be that the New Zealand Institute of Animal Control Officers (NZIACO) be involved from the start.

Everything from registering owners, banning some breeds and whether microchipping is working or not would be up for debate.

Mr Lincoln said dog control officers and NZIACO had been advocating for changes to the dog control act for several years.

"The act is a mix of old and new with parts dating back to the 1800s," he said. MORE>>

In the comment section of Hide plans review of 'onerous' regulations below, a commentor criticisized me for my comment that microchip haven't reduced dog bites as the government said they would when they went out there selling this idea as The Solution For Dog Bites.

It is nice to read that the "Everything from registering owners, banning some breeds and whether microchipping is working or not would be up for debate." And that's what I think that I'm doing... giving my opinion.

I do not doubt that microchip have help reunite dogs... no question that it does, but as we know, when a society dictates what you can and can't do and makes laws around them without evidence based research to back it up, there will be a certain amount of hate towards those who tell us what to do.

Why do you think that Labour got voted out. Nanny-state was given as a reason, needed change was another... but people generally don't like being told what to do, and that's the reason why compulsory microchipping will not stop dog bites.

To illustrate my point even further about knee-jerk reaction, laws and regulation put in place to stop a segment of the population from doing something that irritates the hell out of people.....

I see as much tagging (grafitti) on our city's wall as ever before, but we have made a law that dictates how spray cans will be sold. They can't be sold to minors under 18 years old, and that they have to be put in a secure locked cabinet. Yup, that worked, Not!

October 10, 2009

LandSAR dog back on track

Whoever said you can't teach an old dog new tricks hasn't met Vice, the 6-year-old German shepherd, who has recently re-qualified as a LandSAR tracking dog - three and a-half years after an injury almost cost him his back left leg.

Vice was on a LandSAR training course at Hanmer Springs in 2006, when he pierced an artery on a tree branch. MORE>>

SPCA digs in - and so does Tim

The SPCA has threatened to cut ties with the Invercargill City Council unless it changes its dog control policy and apologises for telling its volunteers to "harden up".

Royal New Zealand SPCA national chief executive Robyn Kippenberger said she was unimpressed with Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt's offer of a conditional apology last month.

I'm sooo unimpressed with Shadbolt. I'm sure there will be someone who'll stand up to him in the next election. This guy is growing too much ego in his little head. He thinks that all he has to do is attempt to ""dance" in front of the country, and the folks down South will love him forever...

As the former ALCP (Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party) deputy leader... he also has to answer to the drug laws in his town too! Very unimpressed in his double standards!!

The meeting followed the council's decision in August to euthanise six rottweiler-terrier puppies because they could grow to be dangerous.

This is one sort of animal cruelty that he should have to answer to.

Ms Kippenberger said Southland SPCA volunteers were also offended by dog control officers who said they would "chuck the puppies in a pit" and by council chief executive Richard King, who told them to "harden up" when they phoned to complain.

I'm afraid that dog ''control'' officers put on a uniform that also says ''I only do what the mayor tell me, and I have license to do what I want''. They'd be the ones closing the doors at Auswitch!

Not at every council, and not every officer.... but for those that are humane dog officers, they should be commended for working in such harsh conditions!

Mr Shadbolt said the council would apologise for its attitude if he found the Dunedin council treated its SPCA workers better than Invercargill did. He did not offer an apology for killing the pups.

Hum.... he really needs to be challenged in the next elections!

Now THAT is unbelievable. I would think that an apology wouldn't need to be ''on condition''... Even if they did apologise, it wouldn't really be from the heart.

Mr Shadbolt visited the Dunedin City Council last week but said he did not see enough information to warrant an apology.

From one visit he's going to see... what exactly?

"I didn't get to see any of the complaints made against their dog control officers, so we're not ready to apologise just yet," he said.

I wouldn't accept even if you did!

Ms Kippenberger was less than impressed with Mr Shadbolt when contacted by The Southland Times yesterday.

"What they did was tantamount to workplace bullying and it's something other councils wouldn't get away with," she said.

Well, they get their direction from the mayor!

"Clearly Tim doesn't want to wash away the dirt he has got on his hands over this. If his attitude is going to continue then I don't see how the SPCA can have a working relationship with the council.

"My only recourse will be to instruct the Southland SPCA not to work with the Invercargill council."

How sad for our animals...

Ms Kippenberger said the whole issue had caused Southland SPCA volunteers significant emotional harm.

The issue had appeared on Australian websites, she said.

Free fees at schools wouldn't help their sour image!

Despite not offering an apology, Mr Shadbolt said he was impressed with the dog control system Dunedin's council had in place.

Council environmental and planning services director William Watt would visit Dunedin soon to look at the cost of its de-sexing programme as well as any complaints made against its dog control officers.

Oh it's like saying... the police investigating their own!

If the Dunedin system proved affordable, then the council would consider adopting it, Mr Shadbolt said.

The Dunedin council should SELL IT to them!

October 08, 2009

First dog death at Coromandel beach

A dog which died after visiting a Coromandel beach has tested positive to the same toxin believed to be responsible for the deaths of five dogs in Auckland.

In the past few months, 10 dogs have fallen ill after ingesting Tetrodotoxin (TTX) in Auckland, which has been found in sea slugs on beaches there.

The dog in the Coromandel had visited Tapu beach, on the west coast of the peninsula 18km north of Thames. MORE>>

Hide plans review of 'onerous' regulations

An overhaul of dog laws is planned. Thank you!

Local Government Minister Rodney Hide, who has asked officials to review the laws, said some councils took dog regulation too far. It is really great to hear some common sense coming into our dog laws.

Dog laws had been made on the "basis of emotion", with "onerous" restrictions being placed on responsible dog owners, he said. Totally agree!

"Dogs are now more controlled in most cities than ever before. Dog owners are also more controlled, and their rights to enjoy their dogs have been restricted." he said. "Is the balance right? There is anecdotal evidence that councils have restricted dog owners to an extent that goes beyond the removal of significant threats to others.

"I am not sure that people with an irrational fear, however real, of dogs have a right to require the physical restraint of all dogs in public places. I worry that councils take dog regulation too far." They are. Once you put a uniform on someone, they think that it gives them the right to do what they want to others. Yes, their job is difficult when dealing with some members of the public with dogs, but it's the 'easy' ones that they pick on because they can. It must be human nature because kids learn this quite young...

However, dog owners had a responsibility to stop their pets annoying other people. I agree with this too! It's the fine line of living together as a community.

"Drivers should not have to face wandering dogs on busy roads," Hide said. "I think farmers have every right to shoot dogs that pose a threat to stock on their farms. But I am not sure that people should be protected from dogs running on a beach off the leash, or from dogs on private property marked with clear warnings about the dogs, or from people owning a large number of dogs on private property or from being approached by a dog." Rodney must have read my blog :)

Canterbury Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals manager Geoff Sutton said the Dog Control Act allowed "enough flexibility". If dog owners took responsibility for their dogs, there would be no problems. "What we all want is for dogs to be under control at all times," he said.

Could we have the same for kids? "under control at all times!" -- sheese... of course there will be a time that your dog will wander.

Yes, they will.

You can have the highest fence, but all it takes is for the visiting cousin to leave the gate open. What is needed is for the dog to control himself! Self-control... and we as dog owners should teach our dogs this concept...

Some councils went too far in their interpretation of the law, others did not go far enough, he said. "There's no measure of an individual council's performance – it's all done internally."

I'm thinking of Mr Watts in Invercargill... killing those puppies !!!!

The Christchurch City Council's dog control policy was "effective" and a "pretty fair interpretation of the Dog Control Act", Sutton said.

Local Government New Zealand regulation spokeswoman Dianne Hale said protecting the public through the licensing of owners of dangerous dogs should be considered as part of the review.

Canterbury Kennel Club Association president Bernard Fears said dog owners should take full responsibility for their animals, but some councils took the control of dogs too far.

Hide said compulsory microchipping would be reviewed. good... since they haven't stopped dog bites!

"Is it good value for money? Does it help us deal with the worst criminal use of dogs by gangs? I'll be looking for real evidence in any review of our dog-control laws," he said.

Well Rodney, you'll also have to look at our drug laws and 'have your say' in the review of drug and alcohol review... as you know Rodney, the more conservative you become with drugs (ie, given control of drugs to our Health Ministry), then we'll be on our way of dealing with the menacing dogs.

As dog control was not a Government priority, the review would not take place until 2011

Review of dog laws on Hide's agenda
another good article about what Rodney Hide said....

October 07, 2009

Licences for dog owners proposed

A review of dog laws is set to consider whether owners, as well as their animals, should be licensed.

The review, announced by Local Government Minister Rodney Hide, will also study whether compulsory microchipping of dogs is working as intended.

The import ban on certain breeds deemed dangerous and the hotchpotch of bylaws on leashing in different areas are also likely to be scrutinised. Though the review would not begin till 2011, as officials will be tied up with the Auckland super-city before then, Mr Hide said he wanted a comprehensive examination.

It's great to know that Rodney has this area of Dog Control in his portfolio... he has the common sense approach to give this the evidence-based 'review' it needs.

"... we tend to pass a whole lot of laws because of a sort of knee-jerk reaction to a tragedy, and we haven't done an overall look to see what we're achieving."

He was not ruling any aspects in or out. He was particularly interested in a suggestion at the NZ Companion Animal Council conference in Auckland, where the review was announced yesterday, that dog owners should be licensed as well as their dogs.

Blair and I were there representing both Doglinks and School of the Naked Dog.

I was quite pleased with Rodney's contribution to the discussion. He spoke candidly about his knowledge about dogs (none), and that his new girlfriend who is a dog owner, will certainly change all that.

"It seems to me that people are entitled to own a dog until it's proved otherwise and that we need to be holding the owners to account for bad dog behaviour," Mr Hide said.

This was in reference to a woman vet who said that owning a dog should be a privilege, and not a right, in which Rodney said that everyone should have the right to own a dog, but with that right there is also responsibility. I agree.

"For the same reason that you need to have a licence to have a car, a licence to have a gun, would be the same reason you'd think about licensing dog owners simply because it's the few that ruin it for the many. I'm open to all suggestions."

He could see a problem with registering dog owners, and that knowing what he knows about city councils, and those who run it,....well.. he could see a day when people are denied owning a dog because they are too old, they don't live in the right house, they've had too many complaints against them, or the 'officer' just arbitrarily chooses not to give a license to that person because of the way he looks, his age, and his car.

This may not happen today, but in 10, 15 years away where the law was meant for one thing, but gets distorted and creates another problem. I totally agree. To me, it's just another bureaucracy which dog owners will have to pay for in their increasing dog fees.

The review would specifically study compulsory microchipping of dogs, introduced in 2006 in response to the savage attack on Auckland girl Carolina Anderson three years earlier.

I feel sorry for that girl because her name is always used with dog control rules. Just leave her name out of it, will ya?! It was because of MEDIA HYSTERIA that Parliament rushes their knee jerk laws in...

Mr Hide said microchipping provided useful information to help reunite lost dogs with their owners and to track dangerous dogs, but there were doubts over its contribution to public safety.

At this conference, I learned that this database isn't shared with the SPCA who rescues dogs. So if the SPCA Officer finds a stray dog at midnight and needs an operation, it can't find it's owner until the Dog Control Offices open the next morning... privacy issues. So why even have a database?

So the SPCA started their own database which I'm sure is totally confusing for everyone. Then I learned that only 45% of SPCA uses their own database!

What a real mess. Privacy issues ?! you betcha! We found out that the National Dog Database shares their information with the IRD ... now, why would that be ?

Will there be a time when the IRD wants their payment before they issue you with the ability of owning a dog. Something like they do with cars. Pay your fines, or you don't get your car back, or you can't leave the country...

Kennel Club spokesman Philip Lyth said the organisation welcomed the review, though it should include an examination of who should administer dog laws.

"It may well be that dog control should be removed from central government and local government altogether."

Organisations such as the SPCA and other animal welfare groups could be given the lead responsibility to help ensure consistency.

In Canada, the Humane Society has the job of collecting dogs off the street, and nursing them back to health etc etc... The city pays them to do Dog Pound Work but they are also a charity in which they have to do fund drives.

In Ashburton, I found out... they use a company (the Security Company) to collect dogs. Now don't tell me that it's not in their interest of collecting MORE dogs than it is necessary.

They need business, and the only way they can stay in business is to collect more and more dogs, and lie about what the dogs did. (and Yes, they Do!)
There has been witnesses who said that saw MAL TREATMENT OF DOGS... their company employees just throw the dogs in the back of the vans. I mean, wouldn't you expect that they had some sort of education about dogs to be working with them ?!?@

How can Ashburton be employing a security company as Dog Management ?!

The Kennel Club had an open mind on whether microchipping should be compulsory, but believed licensing owners as well as dogs should be explored.

The more you tell people what to do, the more you get resistance.

"One way could be that you're required within six months of obtaining a dog to prove that you've been somewhere to learn about the skills that you need as a dog owner and ... that you demonstrate that you're able to control the dog."

I TOTALLY agree with that! Now, there isn't a dog training school in New Zealand who trains people about Dog Training. Polytech in Chch are no longer teaching Dog Training, only Animal Care. Unitec and others aren't offering a specific certificate either.

So if you are requiring people to learn about dogs, how and who will make sure that they are getting the correct information.

There are still a lot of people out there who think that being dominant over your dog is the correct way of treating a dog. (Ie Cesar Millan) This is the 'alpha roll' (getting your dog on their back to show them Who's Boss!), or using chocker chains and jerking them around...

Dog are social beings, and if you don't understand how dogs think, how can you teach them.

Reward based training is the king way of teaching your dog manners...

so, to get back to the original question... Who is going to give the Certificate in Dog Training and who's going to make sure that it's given consistently across the country?

To read the rest of the article.... click here

October 06, 2009

Walk with the animals

(...)That animals — even less obviously social animals, like cats — have emotional lives is something most appreciate, according to American scientist Marc Bekoff.

"I think common folk, lay people, know it. Pet owners know it."

However, Bekoff, a professor emeritis of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, has made it his life's work to scientifically prove that animals not only have emotions but have moral lives too — a finding he will discuss in Auckland this week at the 20th New Zealand Companion Animal Conference, staged by the New Zealand Companion Animal Council

"Basically, animals have the ability to make moral judgments, right or wrong judgments," Bekoff says by phone from his home in Boulder, Colorado.

"They know what they're supposed to do in a particular situation, like in play. When they're playing they will have an expectation that if 'I invite you to play, I won't bite you too hard, I won't knock you too hard and I will honour the rules of the game'. They make decisions about food sharing, about reciprocity — I scratch your back and you scratch mine, paying back favours. The evidence is really clear, as time goes on, that this is in fact what is happening. More and more animals are showing this kind of moral intelligence." MORE>>

Marc signed the book I book :)

This topic is very close to the article in the New Scientist

Animals feel the pain of religious slaughter

Brain signals have shown that calves do appear to feel pain when slaughtered according to Jewish and Muslim religious law, strengthening the case for adapting the practices to make them more humane.

"I think our work is the best evidence yet that it's painful," says Craig Johnson, who led the study at Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand. ....

October 05, 2009

Owners, pets together for SPCA blessing service

It was woofs, meows and pooper scoopers at St Matthew-in-the-City as creatures great and small came together for the SPCA Auckland's annual Blessing of the Animals service.

The ceremony, which honours the legacy of St Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals and friend of all living things, is designed to celebrate the love, loyalty and joy that animals bring. MORE>>

October 02, 2009

Fed Farmers dairy boss responds to mistreatment reports

Federated Farmers Dairy chairman Lachlan McKenzie writes on recent reports of mistreatment of animals on a NZ dairy farm:

Over recent days I have seen some of the saddest images in my farming career. Dozens of seemingly dehydrated calves is not what farming is about. There is justifiable public revulsion about what appears to be unacceptably bad practice.

If you think I am evasive by using 'appears' and 'seemingly', it's reflective of a matter under active investigation. Farming is not these images. Any right to farm animals carries with it heavy ethical obligations towards these animals.

While Britain may be considered a country of dog lovers, New Zealand is a country of farmers. It forms an indelible part of our identity, even for those with no direct connection to farming.

Now that comment in bold is probably why the British can take their dogs anywhere-- buses, trains, restaurants. I wonder if in New Zealand, we can do the same for our cows ?! (har har)

Good farmers, thankfully the overwhelming majority of us, do not take animals for granted. It doesn't matter if an animal is alive for a few days or for longer, we farmers have an absolute duty of care to ensure they are treated humanely and ethically. MORE>>

web page hit counter