Who let the dogs out
224 dog attacks in Dunedin
From July 2013 to July 2014, 69 dog attacks in the Dunedin city region have been on people, with the remaining 175 attacks on pets, livestock and wild animals. Dog owners in Dunedin are required to have their dogs registered by late July. The Otago Daily Times have reported that of the 16,608 dogs in Dunedin known to the council, 91 per cent are registered.
Ensuring dogs are registered is just one part of the process of owning a dog. “It is a legal requirement under the Dog Control Act 1996 that all dogs are registered with their local council,” said Dunedin City Council animal control team leader Ros MacGill. Failure to register a dog can result in a $300 fine. Having a dog registered with the council also provides other benefits. “An advantage of having your dog registered is also if it goes missing and is picked up by Animal Services we will be able to track the owner down and notify them that we have their dog,” MacGill said.
MacGill said that owners can play a hugely influential part in helping reduce the number of dog attacks around the city, even if one’s dog’s breed is naturally more aggressive than others. “Dog owners need to remember that they are legally responsible for their dog, and they must take all reasonable steps to ensure it does not injure, intimidate or annoy anyone. MacGill said that owners playing a proactive role in training their dogs are crucial and should “start when the dog is a puppy through socialisation with both people and other animals.” Having a dog under control and educated does help to reduce dog attacks, however MacGill said any dog, regardless of breed, may pose a threat to people or other animals if the owner does not have it under control. Dog owners are required to “take all reasonable steps to ensure it does not injure, intimidate or annoy anyone,” MacGill commented.