As essential service workers, Auckland Council Animal Management Officers are going above and beyond their normal duties as the COVID-19 lockdown continues.
For Animal Management Officer Janine Murdoch, working through the pandemic is proving challenging – but rewarding.
While on patrol last week, Janine spoke with the Ōrākei Marae gate warden who admitted the marae’s kaumātua were struggling to get out and buy dog food for their cherished furry friends.
“Nearly all of the elderly residents have dogs and they were becoming concerned about feeding them.”
Janine returned to the Manukau Animal Shelter, where she has been based during lockdown, and organised dog food to be delivered safely to the marae.
“With a smaller number of dogs being cared for at the shelter during lockdown I suggested we donate some of our dog food to the kaumatua, and my manager agreed,” she says.
“It was just a small gesture, but every little thing helps.”
Having worked as an Animal Management Officer for two and a half years, Janine’s passion for working with dogs has been life-long, having previously managed the Auckland Pound.
“My job is very rewarding. There’s always new challenges, new views, new people to talk to – my job changes every day.”
Like many essential workers, Janine’s daily duties under lockdown have had to be adapted.
“Not sharing my equipment with the community for statements and payments has been a challenge and some internal processes have changed to paperless options.
“We are also delivering dogs back to their owners, so we are having to use proper PPE – gloves, masks and I use sanitiser every time I exit, and enter, the van.
“I also have a handwash station in the van being used daily.”
As dog owners navigate life in lockdown, Janine says most Aucklanders are doing their bit.
“Aucklanders are still a very busy crowd,” she says.
“People walk with purpose and while some still have their dog off leash, most are keeping their animal in their bubble and keeping their dog on a leash.”
Keeping pets safe is more important now than ever, she says.
“What a great time to enjoy your animal… teach them new tricks like come, heel, sit, wait but above all keep them safe.”
In response to COVID-19 all three council animal shelters are closed until further notice. Animals currently in care will be looked after, but shelters are closed to the public.
For any other dog-related issues or inquiries visit aucklandcouncil.govt.nz or contact the call centre on (09) 301 0101.
For up to date information about COVID-19 visit covid19.govt.nz