Erin Reilly

Franklin County News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE -

dopt­ing a pet in­stead of ‘shop­ping’ for one is a so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity, a res­cue dog ad­vo­cate says. ‘‘When we adopted our dog Lou, he was ema­ci­ated and the size of a six-week-old puppy when he was ac­tu­ally six months old,’’ says Zoe Neave, a dog adop­tion ad­vo­cate. ‘‘He couldn’t sit down prop­erly and I re­mem­ber ask­ing the team at the pound if there was some­thing wrong with him. But he was just so happy to see a loving face that he didn’t stop wag­ging his tail.

‘‘Lou re­paid us by com­ing first at puppy school, and six years on he’s the most tol­er­ant, gen­tle, kind and loving big brother to his two non-fur sib­lings.’’

Lou is just one ex­am­ple of how dog adop­tion doesn’t just save a dog, it cre­ates a fam­ily. But he’s also very lucky to have found a loving home. In 2016, 8,372 dogs were im­pounded in Auck­land’s an­i­mal shel­ters. Most were re­claimed by their own­ers and 644 were adopted, but 3,059 dogs that were not suit­able for re­hom­ing be­cause they were too sick or in­jured, failed a tem­per­a­ment test, were a men­ac­ing dog breed, or were sim­ply too dan­ger­ous had to be eu­th­a­nized.

The stats speak a sim­i­lar story fur­ther south. In Tau­ranga dur­ing the 2015/16 year, 960 dogs were im­pounded, 764 were re­turned to their own­ers, 62 were adopted by new fam­i­lies, and 134 were eu­th­a­nized. ’’We sim­ply have too many dogs in New Zealand,’’ says Auck­land coun­cil­lor Cathy Casey. ‘‘Buy­ing pup­pies from pet shops en­cour­ages more breed­ing that we just don’t need. It doesn’t help the cause when dog own­ers don’t de­sex their dogs ei­ther, of­ten re­sult­ing in thou­sands of un­wanted pup­pies.’’

The so­lu­tion to New Zealand’s dog over­pop­u­la­tion isn’t a quick fix, but there are some things dog own­ers can do to do their bit.

‘‘Dog adop­tion is the per­fect way to add a ca­nine friend to your fam­ily with­out adding to our dog prob­lem,’’ Casey says. ‘‘There are hun­dreds of gor­geous dogs of all shapes, sizes, colours, breeds, ages and tem­per­a­ments in an­i­mal shel­ters all over the coun­try that

Agnes (Ag­gie) and Lou Orme-Gee-Neave re­lax­ing with Lou the dog.

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