Dogs must be kept behind fences and gates. PHOTO/FILE

Dog owners in Masterton have been urged to keep an even closer eye on their pets after a sharp increase in deaths over the past year.

Masterton District Council said its Animal Services staff were concerned by the rise in reports of dogs dying after being hit by cars.

Nine incidents have been reported to council in the past year, including seven in the past three months.

These incidents had to be attended to by the Animal Services team because the animals were at large at the time with no owner present.

Staff would expect to be dealing with only one or two such cases in a year.

The incidents have happened in different parts of Masterton. Most of the dogs were pets who were registered and microchipped.

The council’s environmental services manager, Terri Mulligan said, “There is no one identifiable reason for the increase but these deaths are all avoidable – and they’re all distressing to the owners, as well as the drivers involved.

“These are pets – in most cases the owners have taken the care to register and microchip their dogs. And it’s not a pleasant job for our staff, all of whom are also dog owners.

“We just want to remind people looking after dogs to keep them secure, and that means doing the basics, starting with keeping gates closed.

“We encourage a self-latching closing gate — use a spring, an innertube or, if all else fails, pop a padlock on.”

Mulligan said it was also good to make it clear to visitors to the property that the gate needs to be kept closed –and that includes visitors who may call in when people are not at home.

The district council said it wanted to remind owners that registration and microchipping at least allows owners to be contacted after incidents.

Microchipping is available through the council for $20, and at a discounted price at regular events throughout the year.

Microchipping is one of the criteria for the council’s Responsible Dog Owner Status.

When all criteria are met, Responsible Dog Owners can receive a 25 per cent discount on registration fees.

A Responsible Dog Owner fact sheet is available from the council’s website https://mstn.govt.nz/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/RDO-Factsheet.pdf or from council offices.

Incidents

  • August 2019 – South Road
  • July 2019 – vet report [dog registered and microchipped].
  • July 2019 – Opaki Road [dog registered and microchipped].
  • June 2019 – Renall Street [dog registered and microchipped]
  • May 2019 – Te Ore Road [dog registered and microchipped].
  • May 2019 – Ruamahanga River bank.
  • May 2019 – Gordon Street [dog not registered or microchipped but matched the description of a dog reported to council as missing].
  • October 2018 – Church Street [dog registered and microchipped].
  • August 2018 – Te Whiti Road [dog registered and microchipped].