|31 March 2000|
Moves On Euthanasia Of Pound Dogs
A Christchurch City Councillor is taking steps to change the method of putting down unwanted dogs in the city pound and she also wants to promote the de-sexing of pound dogs.
The chairwoman of the Environment Committee, Cr. Anna Crighton, says she has long been concerned about the method of killing unclaimed dogs in the pound.
At present dogs are killed with a humane gun (captive bolt) method because of cost. This method has been used in New Zealand for more then 30 years.
A report to next weeks Environment Committee will say the method is used rather than other controversial methods, such as gas chambers and open firearm use.
The captive-bolt method fires a steel, 86mm bolt into the dogs head, rendering instant death.
Most of the larger urban cities use lethal injection, as it is more socially acceptable to the public, Cr. Crighton says.
She said the captive-bolt method was upsetting for staff to use and was unacceptable to some members of the public. "They have to put a gun to the dogs head. It is awful and it is awful for staff to have to do as it is barbarous treatment," she said.
Cr. Crighton said 550 dogs were destroyed each year and the total cost was $2640, plus carcass disposal at $7.68 a dog.
The alternative method by lethal injection was less stressful on staff and more socially acceptable, she said.
However, the cost was much higher but investigations by City Council staff showed that local veterinarians were prepared to tender for a service.
She will be recommending next week that the city change to the lethal injection method.
Cr. Crighton will also be urging that the committee agree that dogs in the pound that have found a home be de-sexed before they leave.
She says there are too many dogs in Christchurch and not enough people to give them a home.
However, she says the Council should be aiming for zero kill of unwanted dogs. "This is an idealistic aim and in reality a significantly reduced kill ought to be achievable if a holistic approach was applied to unwanted dogs.
"This would included education, increased de-sexing, affordable registration fees, and incentives to re-home unwanted dogs. "This would lead to fewer dogs ending up in the dog shelter," Cr. Crighton said.
The cost of de-sexing 500 re-homed dogs is estimated to cost $60,000.
Cr. Crighton also recommends registration fees to be dropped for the remainder of the current year when a dog is adopted from the pound.
Savings within the administration of the animal control unit would mean that this new approach would not be a charge on rates, she said.