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.

December 29, 2009

About-face bike turns many heads

Is it a bike, a pedal car or a push-me pull-you? Motorists could be excused for not knowing exactly what Hastings couple Lisa and Verne Pavreal's latest experimental bike was, when they passed through Timaru yesterday.

It is, in fact, a Janus Quad, complete with back-to-back seating, dual pedal power, chilly-bin saddle bags and a solar panel roof.

Lisa and Verne had the bike built by The Electric Bike Company in Christchurch.

The couple are keen cyclists and have also toured the North Island on their unusual machine.

Verne, who is blind, gets the back seat, and his guide dog Zara gets to follow in the custom-built trailer.

"Sometimes I don't know where she (Lisa) takes me," laughs Verne. "We like to travel the back roads where it is quiet," he said.

For their southern adventure they had a solar panel fitted to power a small motor to assist on steep hills. MORE>>

December 27, 2009

Dominance Training Position Statement by APDT

Quoted from the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) website

Association of Pet Dog Trainers Position Statement

There has been a resurgence in citing “dominance” as a factor in dog behavior and dog-human relationships. This concept is based on outdated wolf studies that have long since been disproven. Contrary to popular belief, research studies of wolves in their natural habitat demonstrate that wolves are not dominated by an “alpha wolf” who is the most aggressive pack member. Rather, wolves operate with a social structure similar to a human family and depend on each other for mutual support to ensure the group’s survival.

Dogs are not wolves. The idea that dog behavior can be explained through the application of wolf behavior models is no more relevant than suggesting that chimpanzee behavior can be used to explain the intricacies of human behavior. While wolves and dogs share some similarities in behavior, there are many more significant differences. Dog training and behavior modification strategies that rely primarily on misinterpretations of wolf behavior are therefore irrelevant, ineffective and can lead to serious negative complications.

While dominance is a valid scientific concept, the term “dominance” itself is widely misunderstood, such as when it is used to describe the temperament of a particular dog. Dominance is not a personality trait but a description of a relationship between two or more animals and is related to which animal has access to valued resources such as food, mates, etc. It should not be used in any way to support the belief that dogs are out to “dominate” us, especially as that misunderstanding causes some people to respond with force and aggression. This only serves to create an adversarial relationship filled with miscommunication and even more misunderstanding. The unfortunate result is often anxiety, stress and fear in both dogs and humans towards each other. The use of techniques such as the “alpha roll” on dogs, which is based on these mistaken beliefs about dogs and wolves, has no place in modern dog training and behavior modification. Dogs often respond to this perceived threat with increased fear and aggression, which may serve to make a behavior problem worse and ruin the dog-owner relationship.

The APDT’s position is that physical or psychological intimidation hinders effective training and damages the relationship between humans and dogs. Dogs thrive in an environment that provides them with clear structure and communication regarding appropriate behaviors, and one in which their need for mental and physical stimulation is addressed. The APDT advocates training dogs with an emphasis on rewarding desired behaviors and discouraging undesirable behaviors using clear and consistent instructions and avoiding psychological and physical intimidation. Techniques that create a confrontational relationship between dogs and humans are outdated. Modern scientifically-based dog training should emphasize teamwork and a harmonious relationship between dogs and humans that fulfills both species’ needs. Most of all, it should be a fun and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

The Association of Pet Dog Trainers encourages and supports continued trainer education in order to promote gentle, effective, fast, and fun ways to train dogs using the most up-to-date information and sound, scientifically-based methods.

For more information, please see related information on our Web site at

December 26, 2009

Pensioner pleads for doomed stray dog

A Hamilton pensioner is on a crusade to save the life of an impounded dog on death row because of its breed.

Ross Penn rang dog control at Hamilton City Council on Sunday after the young bitch followed neighbourhood children home to his Nawton street the day before.

The dog followed the wrong guy home... what' a shame :(

But the 68-year-old dog owner was appalled to find out several days later the "delightful little dog" had been classified part pit bull terrier, which under council bylaw meant she would be destroyed in seven days if the owner was not found.

It also prevents the council from re-homing the dog because pit bulls are considered dangerous dogs.

Now how do they determine the breed of the dog? DNA tests?

Mr Penn argued the dog was part Weimaraner and should be able to be adopted. He also wanted a review of the council bylaw.

"She had such a laid-back attitude. She played with the kids all day."

And he has the support of Hamilton West MP Tim Macindoe who suggested the council show some festive spirit and give the dog a chance.

Why only during Christmas?

Mr Macindoe wrote to the council this week requesting a stay of execution to allow Mr Penn a chance to get a vet to classify the dog in mid-January. In the spirit of Christmas please give the dog the benefit of the doubt and give Mr Penn a chance to prove his case," Mr Macindoe said.

"But of course they are faced with the cost of looking after it." Why do you have to wait until mid-January?

Despite admitting it was "quite a nice dog" and not aggressive, the council said its animal control officers had already determined the dog's breed as part pit bull. Life isn't black and white... there are shades of grey, and there are moments of ''oops, we got it wrong!"

Spokeswoman Monica Holt said dog control officers had to follow the bylaw and without registration tags, a microchip, or anyone reporting the dog lost, it was proving difficult to find the owner. Well, with no picture allowed in the newspaper, it's going to prove even more difficult!

She said the dog was a bit thin, which led staff to believe it had been wandering for some time and that Mr Penn had no rights over the pooch. Miss Holt said it was not the first time Mr Penn had rung the council to complain about dog issues. So, what does that have to do with anything? Mr Penn sounds like he cares about the state of Dog in this country!

A request by the Waikato Times to photograph the dog was declined but the paper understands it is tan and white.

Now that's strange. Why shouldn't the Times get a picture of the dog??

December 23, 2009

Guide dog may have led to man's fall

A 64-year-old visually impaired man landed in Dunedin Hospital after his guide dog appeared to lead him off a 4m ledge into the Water of Leith at the University of Otago.

The Mosgiel man received serious leg and chest injuries when he stepped off the ledge about 11.30am and landed on rocks below, near the University of Otago clock tower building.

He was in a stable condition last night.

Jacob Hall (13) was fishing on the banks of the Leith when the incident happened.

He said moments before the incident, the man and his guide dog bumped into him, and he cautioned the man about being so close to the edge.


"It's quite unusual for a seeing-eye dog to do that." Just for people's information, the word 'seeing-eye" dog is a trademark for working dogs for the blind in the USA. I'm not sure why people in New Zealand would use it since these dogs are called Guide Dogs-- that's their official title in NZ.

I'm sure it's confusing for people, and I'm sure people would say 'who cares?' and others would say, 'so why are there two names?'. For those that are interested, here's the story as I see it.

In the USA there are many 'companies' that train dogs for blind people since there are many States and many places that do rehabilitiation work for the blind and vision impaired.

As you know, training a dog to work with blind people is a great marketing for companies that work with older people who can't see too well, or can't see at all. Government don't give enough funding for companies or charites that work with blind people so they have to get money through us, the public. What better way than to show you cutes pictures of puppies, and cute pictures of blind kids.

Dogs, and Assistance Dogs-- In the USA, there are 13 and may be more places that train dogs for blind people, and they are all INC. (incorporated).
Check here for all the companies.
So the word Seeing Eye Dog is a company name. In New Zealand, it is only the RNZFB who do the training, and they are called Guide Dogs, but their generic name is '
assistance dogs'. I'm sure you see the Puppy Appeal and Blind Week Appeal during the year.

The dog was taken by the SPCA to dog training staff at the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind.

RNZFB Guide Dog Services national manager Paul Metcalf said the dog would be checked and cared for until his owner was able to look after him again.

Mr Metcalf said the incident would be investigated and if there was any cause for concern about the dog's actions, he would be given additional training.

He acknowledged the incident was unusual and said guide dogs were trained to avoid potentially dangerous environments for their owners.

December 22, 2009

Jason and Xana are top dogs

For police dog handler Jason Lexmond, knowing he and his dog Xana are helping victims of crime is “way better” than winning a national award for their skill on the job.

Not that he lacks pride in winning the New Zealand Police Dog Section Commandants’ Cup this year.

The pair’s ability, agility and success in tracking down criminals in Gisborne surpassed the efforts of about 30 other competitors from across the country. They were awarded the trophy last month.

Mr Lexmond has been training Xana since she was a puppy. She is now three years old and “absolutely loves” chasing down crooks. I didn't think that word 'crook' was still being used!

A chink in the pair’s armour is that sometimes Xana can be “a bit too nice”. With a name like that, it doesn't really espouse a menacing dog, does it? :)

As Mr Lexmond lets Xana out of her home kennel she makes a beeline for the nearby police wagon, her tail wagging furiously. “She just wants to work straight away,” Mr Lexmond said.
“She loves tracking. She sort of wakes up to that kind of thing.” MORE>>

December 21, 2009

Finder's fine waived, puppy reunited with owner

The Invercargill City Council has backed down from a hefty fine it issued to an Invercargill couple who rescued a lost puppy.

Sue and Grant Hedges were fined $750 after they rescued the puppy on Sunday but refused to hand it over to animal control officers, fearing it could be in danger from larger dogs at the pound.

Their plight was highlighted in The Southland Times yesterday and resulted in a flurry of condemnation from the public about the council's animal control policy.

Yesterday morning Invercargill City Council environmental and planning services director William Watt and environmental principal health officer Debbie Fortuin arrived at Mrs Hedges' house to get the dog and waived the fine. MORE>>

I'm sure the council thought... darn, a lost opportunity of making some quick cash!

December 18, 2009

Dog abuser avoids prison

A man who tied his dog's legs and mouth with electrical tape - leading to the dog's tongue decaying - has been punished for his actions.

Fukahetau Togafana, of West Harbour in West Auckland, appeared in the Waitakere District Court yesterday and was sentenced to 250 hours of community work.

This is really a case of an owner who should never had had a dog in the first place because he never asked for help. However, being Togan perhpas he never thought that there was help out there, and if so where. Perhpas his community work should be working around animals, and helping him understand how to treat them... Clearly this is a case of a lack of education. (read below... the dog barked and he didn't know how to quiet him down)

He is also to pay $603.75 costs and is disqualified from owning a dog for the next five years.

Judge Philip Recordon told Togafana that prison was not unusual for a case such as his.

In December last year, the Animal Welfare group received complaints about a dog spotted in a Waitakere street with all four legs tied together.

When an officer arrived at Togafana's home, he found a dog with its legs bound together with rope and its mouth tied shut with electrical tape.

Because the tape was tied so tightly - and had been so for weeks - it had become embedded into the dog's lips, nose and facial tissue, causing decay.

Togafana later admitted he had tied his dog up in that way to stop him from barking and ripping rubbish bags.

But perhaps, the guy should just go to jail like the rest of them! I'm really trying to see a restorative justice come out of this, but hell... tied up for weeks... there really is something wrong in his thought processes!

In January, the Herald reported the dog - given the name Bobby - was making a swift recovery.

However, although Bobby was placed with a new family and given treatment, he had suffered great trauma and later had to be put down. So fregging sad!

Dogs to aid hunt

Specialist search dogs will be brought in to help in the hunt for an elderly Hamilton woman missing for two weeks. MORE>>

December 17, 2009

Fined for housing lost pup

Looks like Watt is up to his old tricks!

Invercargill dog control officers have slapped a $750 fine on a couple of good samaritans who rescued a lost puppy.

Sue Hedges said her elderly neighbour found the bichon-maltese cross on Sunday. Unable to look after the animal, the neighbour gave the puppy to Mrs Hedges and her husband Grant, who tried to find its owner.

The dog did not have a collar, was not microchipped and a vet estimated it was three to four months old.

and probably worth some money too!

Mrs Hedges left her contact details with three vet clinics, the Invercargill City Council, the SPCA and several businesses, trying to find the owner of the dog.

Oops.. she didn't read my blog! Never ever contact the pound. I think that they have nothing better to do than to try and bleed green stuff out of their wallets!

I mean, of course, at Invercargill... no other city council pound, ...

Yesterday she said she now wished she had bypassed the city council after animal control officers visited her home on Tuesday to seize the dog.

Afraid the pup would be hurt if he was caged with larger, more aggressive dogs, Mrs Hedges refused to hand over the dog, asking if she could instead keep it until the owners came forward.

Actually, Mrs Hedges should have said that she was afraid that Watt and the Mayor would kill the pup thinking that it was saving society from a 'potential' vicious dog!

Cute dog bite too!!!

"We would love to find the owner and I can't see any difference ... why can't he stay here and be looked after?" she said.Instead she was cited for "wilful obstruction of a dog control officer" and fined $750.

"I nearly died," she said. And gone to hell.

"We thought we were doing a good turn." Christmas is a time for good turns too! What wrong with the folks down there?!

"I just really wish that we had not rung the pound," she said.

The couple had no intention of paying and spoke to city councillor Lindsay Abbott. Read what it written in the last sentence...

Yesterday, Mr Abbott said it appeared the council's approach was heavy handed. I see that Watt needs to find another job, and QUICK! Maybe he should join the police... he'd fit really well there.

He hoped the Hedges would not have to pay the fine.

"I will be trying to do my damndest to get that bill rescinded," he said. Sorry, not good enough. Heads should roll. Enough is enough!

City council environmental and planning services director William Watt said he was unaware of the incident, so was unable to comment on it specifically, but the council was authorised under the Dog Control Act to seize and impound lost or stray dogs. Pooh! what a load of rubbish. You're also supposed to complete a stop at a STOP sign too! How many do that!

Those powers extended to animals found by the public, he said.

Rules governing the pound meant animals had to be treated humanely. There was no such guarantee if dogs were taken in by strangers on the street, he said. HOLY SHITE... TREATED HUMANELY !~! what about the puppies you murdered in your care? Read the story here

"She (Mrs Hedges) has got no right to hold the dog if it's not hers," he said. But it's lost! It's the council's way of charging fees.

Remember the issue with the Timaru dog issue. Refresh your memory here.

Concerns Mrs Hedges had about the puppy being held with larger dogs were unfounded as special arrangements would be made for the puppy, Mr Watt said. Like what? escape?

Mrs Hedges should hand the puppy over to animal control officers and ask them to contact her if no-one claimed the dog, he said.

She could also ask that the fine be waived or lowered in return. What a JOKE!

December 14, 2009

Runner motivated by canine consort

Shukuru Munro is on a journey to fundraise for her former village in Tanzania - with the help of her three-legged dog Bart.

No stranger to running, the 34-year-old said she used to run in jandals and her school uniform to get to her local school - 10km away.

Since moving to New Zealand a decade ago with her husband Neil, Mrs Munro said she had taken up running and was more accustomed to running with her trusty sidekick Bart, and now wears a pair of running shoes, rather than jandals. MORE>>

December 11, 2009

Donations will keep injured dog in medicine

Donations have been pouring in to the SPCA to help Lincoln, an elderly dog who was stolen and used as bait in a dogfight.

The generosity follows a ONE News story on Thursday night about William Campbell, the first person in New Zealand jailed for dogfighting.

Lincoln's owner, Janet Cuthers, says he hasn't entirely recovered from his wounds and needs injections costing $50 a shot.

She was considering putting him down but the public support means Lincoln will continue to get the medical help he needs.

December 09, 2009

Fur flies in SPCA row over pet palace

The Wellington SPCA board has collapsed after a revolt led by former Telecom boss Theresa Gattung over funding for a $9 million Mt Victoria pet palace.

The move has raised fears the proposed animal shelter at the former Chest Hospital in Alexandra Rd will never be built.

Ms Gattung has withdrawn from her role as the project's fundraising co-ordinator and major financial supporters have frozen their contributions amid concerns over the escalating costs of the shelter.

She said vice-chairman Craig Shepherd and board member Margaret Doucas – the biggest individual donors to the SPCA last year – and one other member had resigned from the 11-person board.

Tensions came to a head on Monday at the board's annual meeting, which almost 100 people attended, where a vote of no confidence in the board was passed. A new board now has to be voted in. MORE>>

December 07, 2009

Man's body eaten by dog, inquest told

Police investigating the discovery of a decomposing body at a bush campsite were shocked to find most of the body had been devoured by a dog, a coroner's inquest in Greymouth has heard.

Coroner Richard McElrea said on Friday he would have dealt with the case in chambers but Douglas Arllington, a brother of the dead man, had concerns that warranted a public airing.

The remains of Charles Harold Arllington, 53, of Westport, were found on August 22 last year. A reclusive man, he had been living in a tent in dense bush near Westport.

When a farmhand, Joshua McDonald, got sick of Arllington's dog scavenging he went to the campsite to remonstrate with him – and instead discovered a collapsed tent and the remains of a body. MORE>>

Dogs, puppies top TradeMe searches

Dogs and puppies are the most searched for item on TradeMe in the lead up to Christmas, and that's brought a warning from the website's spokesman.

Daniel Bridges says people should think carefully before giving a dog or cat as a gift - make sure the recipients really want one, and that they're well equipped to look after it. MORE>>

Hopefully, when they give their puppy to the owner, they'll also give a voucher for puppy socialisation classes!

December 04, 2009

Prison dog sniffs drugs through marmite

HASTINGS, New Zealand, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- New Zealand authorities said an attempt to hide cannabis in a rubber glove plastered in marmite was not enough to fool a prison drug-sniffing dog.

That''s pretty impressive for a dog!

Staff at Hawke's Bay Prison said its trained drug detecting dog, Narco, smelled the cannabis in a parcel addressed to a prisoner during a mail check last week, the Wellington Dominion Post reported Wednesday.

Prison manager George Massingham said 20 grams of cannabis was hidden inside the glove, which had been plastered in food spread marmite and shoved inside a running shoe.

This article is about the canine GREAT ability of scent discrimination, and I would surely like a wet nose if I'm lost in the great outdoors !!

"Our drug dogs are trained to detect certain odors down to parts per trillion, so it takes more than sandwich spread, however strong-smelling, to fool them," Massingham said.

One thing dog CAN'T smell is LSD... so I'm not sure why people don't smuggle that in (chuckle). Actually they probably are.. we don't hear about it because no one, no canine can detect it!

Massingham said the sender's details have been forwarded to police.

Doh! Surely one can't be THAT dumb!

December 03, 2009

Blind pair says Jetstar refused guide dog

A legally blind couple claims Jetstar refused to allow them to book to fly with their guide dog.

It is the latest complaint from disabled people levelled at Jetstar after Paralympian Kurt Fearnley last month said he felt humiliated dragging himself through Brisbane Airport when he was required to surrender his wheelchair for one from Jetstar.

Two weeks ago, Glen Bracegirdle, who is significantly visually impaired but manages without a guide dog, called Jetstar's call centre to book flights for himself and his partner, Kathryn Beaton.

Ms Beaton requires the assistance of Prince, a four-year-old black labrador guide dog.

He said he explained that they would need to fly with the guide dog, at which point the clerk told him: ''No dogs, no dogs, no dogs.''

When he attempted to explain that the dog was trained by Guide Dogs Victoria, the clerk refused to budge.

He said he was later cut off by a manager who became ''quite loud and angry''.

In subsequent exchanges with Jetstar's customer staff, one was unsure about carriage of seeing-eye dogs and the couple was offered a $50 voucher. But they said staff ''did not seem to grasp the seriousness of the situation''.

Mr Bracegirdle said the airline's action was more inexplicable given they had flown before with the dog on Jetstar.

They have now lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission. MORE>>

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