More bite for dangerous dogs
The Government have put some extra bite into dangerous dog laws and there’s an extra focus on Rotorua.
The new measures were announced by Associate Minister of Local Government, Louise Upston, in Rotorua last Wednesday.
Upston unveiled stricter penalties for dangerous dog owners, an improved database of dog attacks, a high risk dog licensing regime and a neutering programme.
‘‘If you own a dog that’s identified as a higher risk, there is a higher responsibility. This makes that clear,’’ Upston said.
‘‘It’s in everybody’s best interests if all dog owners are responsible. Increasing good dog ownership is at the heart of these proposals.’’
She said the Government had rejected an outright ban on breeds considered dangerous or menacing, hoping that there numbers would reduce through the neutering programme.
‘‘The majority are good dog owners and we’re focusing on where the risk is,’’ she said.
Upston said Government intended to increase the current $20,000 prosecution fine for a menacing dog to $30,000, and increase prison terms from three years to five.
‘‘We will require owners of dogs classified as menacing or dangerous to obtain a ‘ high-risk owner license’ from their council.
Owners would need to show they were capable of handling a high risk dog, that they understood their legal obligations and have their property inspected.
‘‘The dog’s temperament will also need to be tested.’’
Upston said license holders will
‘‘It's in everybody's best interests if all dog owners are responsible.’’
be the sole exception for the adoption of menacing dogs from animal shelters.
She also said offences causing endangerment or injury will be extended to include incidents taking place on private property, where 60 per cent of dog attacks occur.
A neutering programme was also launched with Government funding of $850,000, with Rotorua and Opotiki being the first districts to roll it out.
‘‘Owners of menacing dogs in Rotorua and Opotiki wishing to neuter their dog should contact their council.’’
The legislation would be introduced in February 2017.
Associate Minister of Local Government Louise Upston and Lucy the dog at Wednesday’s announcement.