16,666 dogs killed in shelters
An animal welfare advocacy group says Auckland Council is making money out of killing dogs.
Paw Justice co-founder Craig Dunn said the number of animal shelter dogs euthanised each year was alarming.
The council ordered the death of 16,666 dogs over the last five years, figures obtained under an official information request revealed.
Of these, about two-thirds – or 10,715 dogs – were of menacing type or breed.
Dunn said the high number of deaths could be blamed on the hefty fines imposed on dog owners when their pets were impounded.
The council was allowed to destroy or dispose of a dog after seven days if they were not claimed or a fine was left unpaid.
‘‘When dogs get picked up and impounded there is a fee. Then there is a fee for registration if the dog isn’t [registered] yet, and a fee for daily sustenance when the dog is in the pound,’’ Dunn said.
Even after a dog was killed, owners were still required to pay up, he said.
‘‘[Council] is heavy-handed on killing a family member. Are we really making profits off of our pets?’’
Auckland Council manager animal management Nikki Marchant-Ludlow said euthanisation of a dog was always a last option.
Euthanasia was used for dogs that were menacing types or breed, aggressive or sick.
‘‘We do not want to put dogs down. Our preferred outcome is to return dogs to their owners wherever possible,’’ Marchant-Ludlow said.
The council’s three animal shelters, in Manukau, Henderson and Silverdale, waited seven days for an owner to come forward to claim their dog before any decision was made.
‘‘It also means we ensure the dog is going back into the community registered, de-sexed and compliant with the rules.’’
Dog owners were liable for all fees incurred when a dog was impounded regardless of an outcome, the Dog Control Act stated.
Marchant-Ludlow encouraged dog owners to take more responsibility because a decision to own a dog should not be taken lightly and was a long-term commitment.
‘‘People need to be sure they can properly care for a dog, which includes being able to afford any associated costs.
‘‘Dogs end up in our shelters because their owners have not followed the rules.’’
More than 16,000 dogs have been euthanised at Auckland animal shelters in the last five years.