16,666 dogs killed in shel­ters

Western Leader - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - TORIKA TOKALAU

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.’’

123RF

More than 16,000 dogs have been eu­thanised at Auck­land an­i­mal shel­ters in the last five years.

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