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 12, 2009

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.

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