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Who Let the Dogs Out?

Most of the amendments to the Dog Control Act 1976 are unworkable and unjustified and will impose significant costs for questionable benefit.

In a submission to the Local Government and Environment Committee today Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) Vice President Charlie Pedersen said that the Supplementary Order Paper (SOP) failed to meet its objective of balancing public safety from dogs and the benefits of dog ownership for a significant portion of the population.

"Farmers understand dogs and how to control them and many have been the victims of dog attacks largely on their stock by uncontrolled dogs. Unfortunately this SOP has been driven by an emotive poll in reaction to a tragic event and will encourage irresponsible dog owners not to register their dogs."

The SOP requires dogs not under direct control of an adult be kept within a securely fenced portion of the owner's property so visitors can have unimpeded access to at least one door of the dwelling without being confronted by a dog.

"This requirement will impose significant compliance costs for all dog owners but particularly for the owners of farm dogs and would achieve little.

"Requirements to microchip all dogs being registered for the first time would place significant costs on the owners of working dogs, low income families and the retired creating a disincentive to register dogs. It is worth noting that 46% of dog attacks in 2001/2 were by unregistered dogs.

"The minority of irresponsible dog owners should be targeted by tougher sanctions not the majority of responsible dog owners who will bear the costs of these provisions that will do little to tackle the real problems."

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