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.

March 30, 2010

No sign of life - then the dog appeared

Juanita is lifted from the Tafadzwa after the yacht was taken to the Chatham Islands.

The drifting yacht Tafadzwa was eerily lifeless as a rescue vessel pulled alongside yesterday. Then a dog poked her head out of the hatch.

It was 2-year-old retriever-cross Juanita, who belonged to missing yachtsman Paul Janse van Rensburg.

"When we pulled up alongside, she poked her head out for a bit, but went down below again," said fisherman and diver Floyd Prendeville, of the fishing boat Legionaire, which towed the Tafadzwa to the Chathams.

But 17 days at sea - many of them alone on the Tafadzwa as it drifted with winds and currents from the East Cape to the Chathams, 749km south east of Napier - had taken a toll on Juanita.

When Mr Prendeville approached her, she was timid, shaking and silent.


A lucky dog indeed...

March 24, 2010

Woman denies cruelty to dog

A Christchurch family are grieving after their beloved cocker spaniel was shot dead on their suburban street.

Alan and Maria Carbon's dog, Pogi, staggered into their Bryndwr driveway with blood flowing from his mouth, collapsed, and died from a gunshot wound to the stomach in January.

A neighbour of the family, Henrietta Tania Campbell, 46, appeared in the Christchurch District Court yesterday.

She has denied charges of discharging a firearm near a dwelling and cruelly ill-treating the dog and will have a hearing before a judge in June.

Pogi died about noon on January 11 after playing with the family in the backyard. He got out "for a matter of minutes" and as the family were looking for him they heard a gunshot.


The only painting in the Carbon family living room was of Pogi, and Maria Carbon wept while talking of the dog.

The family said they used to put Pogi in a dog hotel with a heated floor and a television when they went on holiday.

Where is that?

They were at a loss to explain why he was shot.

"When I heard the sound I didn't even register what it was. It was so inconceivable," Maria Carbon said.

They have a new cocker spaniel, Bello, but the new dog was no replacement, she said.

The Carbon family were in court for Campbell's appearance yesterday wearing Paw Justice T-shirts – an organisation that "seeks justice against those who hurt our animals".

How weird... shooting a dog in town?! how cruel, and how dangerous!


It's a ruff world out there

Ben Lakomy has seen it all - a dog with its nails so overgrown they had curled around and grown up through its feet, neglected, underweight dogs with untreated skin conditions, a cat with massive untreated wounds that became maggot infested, poisoned pigeons and birds stuck in rooftops.

As a senior animal welfare inspector for Wellington's SPCA these sorts of scenarios are an all-too familiar sight to Mr Lakomy.

And though the 25-year-old is first to admit dealing with animal neglect and abuse is heartbreaking, he tends to focus on the positives.

"It's all about saving lives. I'm in a position where I have the tools and the training to be able to make positive changes to the lives of animals that need help.


March 22, 2010

From a visitor

Our visitor is a dog lover from overseas. He travelled around NZ, and was surprised to see that no dogs are allowed in the city centre of Invercargill. He said that for such a small town, he was surprised that it was such a non-dog place. I agree.

He was also surprised that the NO DOGS ALLOWED was embedded in the sidewalk.. the footpath.

He said that he preferred this picture. I do too!

Shilah's fun and games have a serious side

She is playful, partial to a cheerio and loves biting rubber milking teats, but border collie Shilah is fast becoming a skilled search and rescue dog.

The 16-month-old canine is being trained by Aokautere woman Christine Scott to become just the third Land Search and Rescue (Landsar) dog in the North Island.

The two other North Island Landsar dogs are in Wellington and Auckland. There are 10 in the South Island, and 12 avalanche-trained dogs nationwide.

Mrs Scott, a Landsar member for eight years, bought Shilah at seven weeks old from an Otaki breeder.

"We always had the idea to train her in mind," she said.MORE>>

Red Puppy Appeal Fundraiser

School of the Naked Dog Fundraiser

Come to the Foundation of the Blind this Saturday March 27th from 10am to 2pm.
96 Bristol Street, off St Albans Street, Merivale, Christchurch

Free pet dog training, demonstrations, games/toys, dog talks. $2 at the door.
IQ Dog toys for sale, books, and more. 10% of sales goes to the puppies. 100% donations on some items!
Bring your money, your dog, and your family!

View Larger Map

March 18, 2010

Lack of vaccines means emigrants risk losing pets

Every year hundreds of pets are flown overseas to join their New Zealand owners who are emigrating offshore. But before they go, pets need certain shots, especially if they're travelling to countries that have rabies - a disease that can and does kill.

But what happens if that all important vaccine simply isn't available?
Are owners are simply forced to leave their best friend behind?

Well around the country that's the dilemma pet owners are facing right now.

A Jack Russell from Kaikoura was unable to travel overseas because of the lack of a vaccine because the vaccine manufacturer was upgrading their plant.

Attempts to get the vaccine in from Australia have also failed.

Assured Quality has said they have found an alternative rabies vaccine which should be in New Zealand in a month.

Watch the video

March 11, 2010

10,000 ACC claims a year from dog attacks

The Accident Compensation Corporation says it gets over 10,000 claims per year from dog attack victims. There have been five serious incidents in the last fortnight, including two attacks on toddlers - all by pitbulls or mastiffs, or breed crosses.

ACC spokesperson Laurie Edwards says the number of dog attack claims is steadily increasing, and the figure may not include all victims:
Mr Edwards says the cost to ACC of dog attacks is around $4 million per year, and that doesn't include the wider costs of time off work, hospital expenses, and emotional scars.

I wish that the reporting of dog bites would include Ian Dunbar's bite assessment criteria when assessing a dog bite. Why include this?... not just for reporting, but also to make sure that the dog has a good chance of being taught not to bite. Why waste time trying to rehabilitate a dog when it might not be worth the effort.

Teaching bite inhibition is the best thing you can do for your pup!

Level 1- Dog growls, lunges, snarls-no teeth touch skin. Mostly intimidation behavior.

Level 2- Teeth touch skin but no puncture. May have red mark/minor bruise from dog’s head or snout, may have minor scratches from paws/nails. Minor surface abrasions acceptable.

Level 3- Punctures ½ the length of a canine tooth, one to four holes, single bite.No tearing or slashes.Victim not shaken side to side. Bruising.

Level 4- One to four holes from a single bite, one hole deeper than ½ the length of a canine tooth, typically contact/punctures from more than canines only. Black bruising, tears and/or slashing wounds. Dog clamped down and shook or slashed victim.

Level 5- Multiple bites at Level 4 or above. A concerted, repeated attack.

Level 6- Any bite resulting in death of a human.

This was taken from the following blog. Well worth the read.

March 10, 2010

100 per cent registration for known dogs

Auckland City’s high levels of dog registration contribute to lower levels of dog attacks, evidence suggests.

What 'evidence' do they have? How can someone correlate dog registration with low dog attacks? Perhpas there are more dog trainers in the area, or more people sending their dogs to doggy daycare, or perhpas they are bringing them to a well-run puppy class!

Auckland City Council has now achieved 100 per cent registration of the city’s 20,844 known dogs.

Doh! what a silly statement! It's like saying "I can account for all my money!".. it's all in my pocket

There is evidence that high registration levels have a positive effect on lowering incidents of dog aggression to people and animals. In the 2008/2009 year there were 126 reported dog bites, a 53 per cent reduction from the 2002/2003 year when there were 268 reported dog bites. Total reported dog aggression, including attacks on other animals has reduced 68 per cent from 1,032 in the 2003/2004 year to 332 in the 2008/2009 year.

So this is their evidence? What scientific journal has their evidence based research been written in?

The council takes the safety of its residents and their pets seriously. It is a statutory requirement that all dogs be registered with their local council.

Good on ya council! Pat yourself on the back while increasing dog registration fees and getting nothing back in return. (hey, the Council could subsidies overseas dog experts seminars here in NZ)

Or is this 'press release' gearing up to the Super City. I do understand that each Auckland region at the moment has very different fees. Yes, I'm cynical.. as you get older, you do get wiser to these sorts of number maneuvering.

Like I remember the saying in our stats class at university- statistics, statistics, and more lies...

Auckland City Council’s strong dog management policies have resulted in improved public safety and animal welfare - fewer dog attacks, fewer dogs picked up wandering, fewer dogs hurt or killed in traffic accidents and fewer unclaimed dogs euthanised. By enforcing the dog control rules, council encourages dog owners to take their responsibilities more seriously.

“Registering all the city’s dogs contributes to a safer environment for our residents and ratepayers. Puts money in your cofers! The correlation between dog attacks and unregistered dogs shows us just how important it is to ensure our dog owners follow the rules,” says Councillor Aaron Bhatnagar, chairperson of the City Development Committee. No it doesn't! Mr. Bhatnagar didn't come and listen to Dr Ian Dunbar, did he? You can still catch him on Radio NZ with the Kim Hill interview.

If you are the owner of an unregistered dog, you are urged to register your pet now or you risk a fine of up to $300. To register your dog now go to a council services centre, or download a dog registration form from or call 379 2020.

Put I thought that 100% of dogs were registered !! Isn't that the title of the press release...

If you have concerns about an unregistered dog in your area, call Auckland City Council on 379 2020 or the council’s animal control services on 360 0750; both numbers are answered 24 hours a day.

but.. but... you said they are all registered!

I guess the


Views differ on easing dog bylaw

The possibility of dogs being allowed on Caroline Bay has received a mixed reaction from some of those who use the Bay.

People having lunch on the Bay yesterday had a variety of views.

While those spoken to were generally of the view that dogs on the Bay at some times were acceptable, there was also reticence over the idea, based on the number of small children that could be in the area and the concern that those taking their dogs to the Bay would not be able to control them.

Enjoying a picnic lunch at the Bay yesterday were Temuka couple Ian and Joy Haszard. While they were not dog owners, Mr Haszard considered such a move showed a "lovely approach to those responsible people [with dogs]" and considered it a good idea. Mrs Haszard was also in favour of such a change.


March 09, 2010

Dog leads owner to man bashed in park attack

A man who was out walking his dogs says one of the pets led him to a severely injured teenager who had been attacked in a West Auckland park with his girlfriend.

Police yesterday spoke to the injured man, aged 19, and his 17-year-old partner, but they are unable to remember what happened early on Sunday morning because of their injuries. MORE>>

Another good reason for walking your dog...

Black dog days may be over for Kiwi canines

Kiwi canine experts have called for a new pooch "prozac" to be introduced here to help dogs suffering from depression and anxiety issues.

Reconcile, an antidepressant formulated for dogs, was launched in Britain last week and is due to go on sale in Australia soon.

The powerful drug could combat the mental health problems experts believe affect almost one in seven dogs.

Auckland dog behaviorist Simon Goodall said drugs were commonly used to treat mental health problems among Kiwi canines. The number of dogs diagnosed with depression is not recorded here but Goodall estimated about 17 per cent were sufferers.

I wonder where he gets this estimate if it's not being recorded?

"If researched properly it would be a welcome addition to some of the dogs that we work with," he said. "It may help in bringing down the overall stress of the dog ... so is well worth a go here in New Zealand."

According to Dr Ian Dunbar who was in New Zealand recently talking about pet behaviour, he says that these types of drugs aren't necessary. I asked him about this because I read a book written by Dr. Nicholas H. Dodman.

Dr Dodman was in favour of drugs to help calm dogs, and he has presented at many conferences with his data. Then we find out that the conferences that he spoke at were funded by the drug companies.

So hum... it sounds good, but.... The best way of getting your dog to calm down is 1) Use TTouch 2) give him a Kong full of food for him to chew while you are away. 3) make his environment stimulating.
4) use the Nothing in Life is Free concept.

Goodall treats about 10 dogs a week suffering "stress-related issues" and says other treatments include homeopathic remedies.

The pills have also received the 'paws up' from academics.

Professor Kevin Stafford, from Massey University's institute of veterinary, animal and biomedical sciences, said human antidepressant clomipramine had been given to pets here for years.

But a product made for dogs would be "of great value".

"There is always a demand for drugs to treat behaviour problems as it is believed that they make ... human-dog interactions easier." MORE>>

And I wonder if this is really necessary.. is it a con from the pharmaceutical companies? This would be a good research paper for a grad student!

March 07, 2010

When a dog's life weighs heavy

Meet Frank, the British bulldog. His owner, Louise Grant, bought him on a whim one rainy weekend nearly two years ago but has discovered that just like becoming an accidental parent, he is a lot more work than she imagined.

Until this summer Frank was a happy and mischievous 28kg (and still growing) puppy. Despite his fearsome look, he is actually shy around strangers and would prefer to squeeze himself under a cafe table than allow dog-loving passers-by to pat him.

But all that changed when Frank went to Waiheke Island to spend the summer. Louise rented a house and the plan was to commute to work in the city four days a week so she and Frank could enjoy romping on the beach, having friends to stay and generally enjoying a marvellous summer.

Except it didn't work out that way.

Frank was unsettled. Everything was unfamiliar; ferry rides, a strange house, scary sounds, lots of people.

He became snappy and irritable with Louise's friends, and when he would normally easily interact with other dogs on the beach, he was getting angry and unpredictable.

Within a few weeks Louise couldn't trust him off the leash any more. So she marched him off to therapy.

Two sessions for $450 - that should do the trick.


Holy moly! $450 !!
Maybe we aren't charging enough for our ''therapy" sessions !!

The best thing a dog owner can do to start getting their dog to listen to them is hand feeding. The magic starts there!

No home for home detention

The owner of a dog that mauled a 12-year-old boy at a rugby game was sentenced in the Auckland District Court this week - only to have the sentence quashed hours later.

The address where Melvyn Toko had been sentenced to serve home detention was found to have been sold. The earlier decision was rescinded and Toko released on bail. Resentencing has been delayed until March 15, to give probation staff time to find another suitable address.


Toko had been sentenced on several charges related to the dog attack, as well as burglary, car theft and driving while disqualified.

His Staffordshire bull terrier cross attacked a boy in November 2007 at a touch rugby game in Panmure. It should have been muzzled in public after previously biting a woman known to Toko. MORE>>

March 06, 2010

Police dog bite victim loses case

A district court judge has dismissed a damages claim made by a bystander who required surgery after being attacked by a police dog.

Cedric Lawrence, of the South Auckland suburb of Manurewa, sought $20,000 in exemplary damages after the attack by the dog, named Stone, in October 2006.

Only a police officer would call a dog Stone! What, short for Stoner? Go figure!


Judge Spiller said the facts of the case did not meet the legal test of battery either, and police behaviour had not been outrageous enough to meet the test required for exemplary damages to be awarded.

Not outrageious enough? What is ''enough'' in order to meet the ''test''?


Mr Lawrence's lawyer, Jeremy Sutton, who has dealt with six cases involving police dog bites, said he was disappointed by the decision.

"It is unfair that there are a significant number of police dog attacks on innocent members of the public," he said.

Unfair?? That isn't strong enough of a word!

"I hope that the law soon catches up to the injustice being done. In light of this case police are almost immune from liability for the actions of their dogs."


So if their aren't liable, why is the joe-public liable for their dog creating havoc on an innocent victim?

March 05, 2010

Canine visitors teach interaction

A five-year-old boy bitten by a dog outside a Christchurch school highlights the importance of teaching children how to approach canines, a school principal says.

It's nice to see that Mr Bockett, the principal, had taken our converstaion seriously. Blair spoke to him about the importance of dogs and kids being socialised together, and that today, a lot of kids just don't know how to interact with them. Years ago, every family had a family dog, and they all seemed to get on together. Dogs followed the kids to school when they were dropped off, and they just got socialised.

Today, sadly this doesn't happen. That's why we have brought in the Doggone Dog Bite Prevention Programme to New Zealand. I'm happy that this school is being pro-active and allowing our kids to be introduced to kids.

South Brighton School principal John Bockett said the new entrant had walked outside the school gate to where two dogs were tied up and had gone to pat one when it "nipped him on the lip".

An ambulance was called to ensure the boy had a tetanus shot and was not in shock, he said.

The dogs' owner walked the animals to school every day and was "devastated" by the incident. The police said they would not be laying charges.

Bockett said it underlined the value of the school's safe-dog scheme.

Six canine educators – specially trained and independently assessed dogs – had regularly visited the school for the past two years.

As well as teaching children how to interact safely, the dogs could also comfort children who had been through traumatic events or had special needs.

Bockett said the programme was introduced after a pupil had been mauled by a dog overseas, and was terrified of the animals.

"They started to bring a dog and put it in an enclosed baby's playpen and the child got used to the dog around her. In the end, she looked after the dog and wasn't scared any more.

"There is research about how dogs settle a lot of kids with special needs and kids exposed to violence."

Yes it surely does. It raises our oxitocin levels... the chemicals in our brain that makes us relax.

Year 5-6 teacher Therese Falconer said her dog, Finn, a regular classroom member, had helped the children and made them more comfortable with canines.

March 04, 2010

The APDT NZ Inaugural National Conference

Association of Pet Dog Trainers New Zealand Press Release
March 4, 2010

Dennis Nuberg, Media Spokesperson APDT NZ Inc.

03 382 4437

Debra Millikan , Head trainer- Canine Behavioural school ; and,

Karin Bridge, Director – Get SMART Dogs Sydney and Past President of APDT Australia.

Topics will include, “Humans and Dogs- the story so far”; “Behavioural Problems – mixed messages and mayhem”; “Dog Eat Dog – Why nice dogs do bad things on lead”.

A panel discussion by the three guest speakers will cover what could be called the most relevant dog training issue at present, “Dominance Theory – Mythical or Mighty”

This event is unique in New Zealand and will provide an opportunity to build wider dog trainer networks from around the country. There will be an opportunity to review cutting edge equipment and supplies at the trade show in an independent and positive atmosphere.

The APDT NZ Mission and Vision Statements lead the way in dog training ethical standards. Be a part of this growing society.

APDT Mission: To promote human-dog relationships of understanding and trust by offering education in canine behaviour and effective, up to date, dog friendly training methods and skills.

APDT Vision: All dogs are effectively trained through dog-friendly techniques and therefore are lifelong companions in a relationship based on mutual respect and trust.

APDT is a well established organization in other countries including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia. After many years of support and alliance with APDT Australia it was officially formed here in New Zealand as an independent entity on 1st May 2009.

The APDT NZ “Smarter Trainers, Better Dogs” conference will be packed with up to date information, trade stalls, professionally recognized speakers and many delegates both professional and domestic from throughout the dog world of New Zealand. This is a great opportunity to be part of something exciting right from inception.

More information is available on or contact

Margarette Marshall

APDTNZ 2010 Conference Co-ordinator:

March 03, 2010

Beware - off leash attack

Dog lover Malcolm Dixon is calling on people to keep a closer eye on their pets and report any attacks.

The Ellerslie resident wishes he’d reported the first incident his shetland sheepdog was involved in five years ago, when it was attacked by another dog in Remuera’s Waiatarua Reserve.

Since then, 14-year-old Laddie has been the victim of two other attacks in the same Auckland City Council off-leash reserve.

In all three cases, other dogs have spotted the elderly dog and struck at him. Laddie, a medium-sized dog with a passive nature, has been startled and hurt but never seriously injured. The most recent attack, one night in January, left Laddie limping, his body twisted and "with a crazy look in his eyes". Mr Dixon was walking slightly ahead of Laddie when he heard a scuffle behind him. He turned around to find what he thinks was a black short-haired labrador attacking his sheepdog.

He swung Laddie’s leash at the attacking dog, causing it to lose its grip and run away.

The dog’s owner approached him, saying "it is an off-leash reserve" and "your dog must be on heat".

If the dog is on heat, there surely wouldn't be an attack!

But Laddie is male and neutered. Which would explain it better than a dog on heat!... if we humans were going to explain this. Who knows what goes on inside a dog's head.

Mr Dixon carried Laddie home and called the council’s animal control services, who immediately sent an officer to take a statement from him and photograph and examine the dog.

"He said it was a shame I hadn’t reported the other ones," Mr Dixon says. "I didn’t think to – people just don’t think to." Although it is an off-leash reserve, dog owners have a responsibility to keep their pets under control at all times.

This is a good article to read about Dog Park Etiquette

Mr Dixon is concerned the reserve will lose its off-leash status if they don’t. Why should it?

Council animal contracts manager Clare Connell says in off-leash dog exercise areas attacks are more commonly attributed to over-exuberant rather than aggressive dogs. Agree, and people don't understand the difference between loud dog talk, and not.

"Most cases of a dog being aggressive to other dogs are dogs coming out of their property to attack a dog being walked past," she says.

Ms Connell believes under-reporting is an issue. I think under-education is an issue.

"People may mistakenly believe the dog they complain about will be euthanised.

Now I wonder why that would be? I wonder if the media are to blame for this impression.

"In fact, the council seeks the euthanasia of very few dogs for aggression. Unless the owner consents, a dog can only be euthanised for aggression through a court order." Who would have known. Every dog attack means a dog's death when I read it in the news.

She suggests dog owners get as many details as possible if their dog is attacked, while keeping in mind that people can become aggressive. If someone was going to call a "loud dog dispute" an 'attack' when in fact all is it is lots and lots of barking, growling and nothing more,... then yes, people would get a bit upset.

A dog, like a child, is a measure of a person's abilities of being a good parent or dog owner. So attacking a person's dog can be quite personal.

"They should note the dog’s colour, breed, colour of any collar, if the person has referred to the dog by name, if it is male or female. "If the owner is co-operative, the complainant should ask to see the dog’s registration tag and note down the number." You expect someone to be cooperative about this?! Especially when they think that they'll get a dog officer on their door step? Hum... and a $300 fine or whatever one might think...

Ms Connell says you should also record details about the dog owner and a description of their vehicle and its registration number.

The most recent attack on Laddie is being investigated.

• There were 110 dog attacks on dogs and 148 dog attacks on people last year in the Auckland City Council region.

Of course, like Ian Dunbar said... we have to measure the severity of the attacks. No point giving a number when 145 of those 'dog attacks' were actually "a dispute".

I'm not saying that this man shouldn't complain about this, but what I AM saying is that the more people complain about other people's dog in an off leash park, then more people will NOT walk their dog to the park, therefore less walks, more boredom, more problems.

I do understand that dog parks are a place that some dog owners bring their aggressive dogs to (I've been told about one such incident here in Christchurch) and those people need educating!!

I mean... hello ??!

I'll say it again... this is a good article to read about Dog Park Etiquette

The very first thing a dog park should get rid of are benches. The more people that are allowed to sit while their dog is 'playing', the less they watch their dog.. And this means that the prevention of overly excited dog becoming too excited, and starting a real dispute can't be curtailed. In New York City, cellphones are the next thing to ban in dog parks. People are busy on their phones not watching their dog.

Of course, educating people when their dog is stressed, and not having fun would be another good topic to give. Dogs give out signs over and over again to their owners, and the owners just ignore them because they can't read 'dog'. A shame really.

New Auckland Council’s Structure Too Complicated

“The Auckland region will end up going to the dogs with residents of the new super city possibly having to adhere to 19 different dog bylaws unless changes are made to its proposed structure,” Rodney District Mayor Penny Webster has warned.
“For example, in the Auckland region we currently have seven Councils making bylaws. Under the new structure we are likely to have 19 local boards having different bylaws, no doubt employing an army of lawyers to keep up with this demand.”

'Staggering' report shows 41 Kiwis killed by family

Figures that show at least 41 New Zealanders died at the hands of family members in 2009 have been labelled "staggering" by some working to stop family violence.

The Family Violence Death Review Committee issued the figures in its annual report to Parliament. But it says the number could still get higher, as some deaths at the end of the year have not yet been included.

The figure is made up of 16 children, 13 women and 12 men – 10 deaths above the national average of 14 women, six men and 10 children killed each year.

How many are killed through dog bites?

When Dr Ian Dunbar was here, he said that the media really put dog bites out of proportion to what other harms there are in society.

There are 2000 kids in the USA killed by water (swimming pool).

And so when I read this story about family violence, we wonder why dog bites gets the coverage it gets. There may have been 1 death due to a dog eating it's owner, and that was because the owner was abusing it.

Listen to Ian himself on Radio NZ, here's the link

Ian Dunbar: disciplining dogs
Veterinarian, animal behavourist, dog trainer, and writer, whose research in hierarchical social behaviour and aggression in domestic dogs broke new ground. (duration: 31′24″)

March 02, 2010

Puppies lead the way

CUTE little puppies win over the hearts of many people, but their adorable qualities pale in comparison to the guidance they give blind and partially sighted New Zealanders.

The Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind’s annual Red Puppy Appeal scampers away from March 26-28.


During the appeal, volunteers in red vests with collection buckets will try to raise the $1 million needed for guide-dog services.

Supporters can donate $20 by calling 0900-733-787 or log onto

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