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Council reviews Dog Control Policy

8 August 2007

Measures to minimise dog attacks are in place under both the current Dog Control Policy and the proposed new policy which will go before Council in the next couple of months, Animal Control Team Leader Mark Vincent says.

Sunday’s incident in which a youngster was badly mauled by a loose dog was a reminder that despite rules, regulations and constant surveillance by dog control officers, sometimes these dreadful attacks still take place.

"The best advice I can give to dog owners is to ensure they are secured – either within a fenced property, or chained. It’s also in the best interest of the dog owners and the wider community to keep dogs on a leash when out in public. And dogs should be socialised with other dogs and people in one of several Christchurch dog exercise areas."

The current Christchurch City Council Dog Control Policy reinforces Government legislation around dangerous dogs, which are required to be neutered within a certain time frame and to wear muzzles in public.

There are unlikely to be any changes to these aspects of the policy in the proposed new policy, Mr Vincent says.

The dog involved in Sunday’s attack was not on the Council’s Dangerous Dogs Register of about 180 dogs that have bitten or attacked a person.

"If you have a breed of dog that has a history of attacking people or other dogs, it would be sensible to take your dog to a dog training club or obedience school. And keep it on a leash when out in public," Mr Vincent says.

"We need as dog owners to take personal responsibility for what happens with our dogs," he says.

The Local Government Act 2002 requires that Council reviews a number of bylaws, including the Dog Control Bylaw, by mid 2008. Before the bylaw can be reviewed, Council has to review the Dog Control Policy, last amended in 2003.

More information on the proposed Dog Control Policy 2007 will be available on the Council website in the bylaws section within the next couple of months.

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