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?
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