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500 dog incidents in 5 months


Dogs can’t be left to their own devices

In the five months to the end of November, Masterton District Council staff responded to 298 calls relating to wandering or roaming dogs, 107 barking dogs, and 71 lost dogs.

There were 22 attacks on other animals reported, four attacks on people, and three on stock.

Council environmental services manager Terri Mulligan said most of the dog-related incidents – attacks and wandering – could be avoided if owners ensured dogs were secure when at home, kept on leads when walking, and actively under control in off-leash areas.

Children and dogs also needed to be actively supervised when interacting.

“Christmas can be a challenging time for pets,” she said. “There are often new people around, visiting their homes, and sometimes visitors are not as aware of the need to shut gates and doors. Checking the gate is closed behind visitors is always a good idea.

“As is the case at any time of the year, dogs need to be kept secure and under control, at home or when out and about. That would prevent most incidents.”

During the holiday season, Mulligan said if friends were looking after dogs, they needed to be aware of what was required.

“If they are not dog owners, they should be reminded of the need for exercise and things like access to water and shelter.

“Even if owners are away from home for a single night, someone needs to be responsible for care of their dogs. They can’t just be left to their own devices.”

And while taking dogs to town in the car may be seen as kindness so they are not alone, on hot days it can be a life-threatening experience.

“A parked car can get very hot very quickly – and reach 40 degrees Celsius in 10 minutes,” Mulligan said.

“Dogs will quickly become distressed and begin to become dehydrated, even with the windows down slightly.”

Anyone seeing a distressed dog in a vehicle should attempt to find the owner and if that was not possible, call the police or the SPCA.

Up-to-date information helps find missing dogs

Owners who find their dogs have gone missing should contact the Masterton District Council, ideally by notifying the team through the ‘report a lost dog’ page on the website: https://mstn.govt.nz/services/animal-control/lost-and-found-dogs/report-a-lost-dog/

Providing a photograph of the dog is useful.

If dogs are wearing a collar and are registered and microchipped, it can be a straightforward process to find owners, but contact information must be up to date.

Owners can do this by completing a details update form on the website, emailing us at [email protected] or calling into the council’s Queen Street office, or filling in an online form: https://mstn.govt.nz/services/animal-control/dog-registration/

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