Dog control officers are hiding in bushes and lurking in cars in a covert surveillance tactic to gather more fines, dog owners claim.
The owners say the fines - which can be for infringements including failure to keep a dog under control and failing to remove faeces - have become about "revenue collecting".
However, the Auckland Council said yesterday there was no incentive for dog control officers to issue a quota of tickets and the officers were not allowed to hide in bushes.
Kate Burke, who lives in Pt Chevalier, said she had written to Auckland Mayor Len Brown criticising Animal Control Services, a company contracted by the council to enforce city-wide dog bylaws.
"There is a strongly held and widespread view in the community that responsible dog owners are being targeted as a source of revenue collection," she wrote.
The animal control officers were often unprofessional, dishonest and aggressive, and were just revenue-collecting, she said. Dog owner Sean Curham said he had seen an animal officer crouched in a bush at a park. "He was tucked out of sight. He was away from his van and was deliberately out of sight."
The Westmere coastal park is a popular spot for dog walkers. Dogs are allowed to run free within the grassy park area, but legally have to be on a leash along the entry walkway and in the carpark.
On the day of the ticket, Ms Burke was leading her dog Mozart, unleashed, back to her car. After noticing an officer writing while sitting in a marked car, Ms Burke asked whether she was getting a ticket.
"[The officer said] 'I'm catching up on my paperwork, but now you have interrupted me, maybe now I will'."
Ms Burke received a ticket for $1800 in the mail - $300 for a dog off-leash, $750 for wilful obstruction and $750 for failure to supply details.
Auckland Council has since reduced the off-leash dog and the wilful obstruction fine back to warnings.
Ms Burke said she would fight the $750 ticket for failure to supply details in court, saying: "There's still some dispute around what actually went down."
This job should not be contracted out!! If you have a contract, then you MUST show that you are WORKING for your money! How do you do that?!?
And, I'd also like to know what kind of animal qualification they have?
And and... that last story about the ticket $1800 !!! that's OBSCENE !! You don't even get that for speeding ! Where the hell do they get these fine?