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Drop in dog attacks and barking complaints in Auckland

Animal Management Report 2019/20 presented to committee

Published: 16 October 2020

Dog attacks in Tāmaki Makaurau are dropping as Auckland Council’s Animal Management team continues to prioritise the safety of residents and visitors.

“Keeping people safe from harm caused by dogs is still our highest priority,” Animal Management Manager Sarah Anderson said.

Presenting the 2019/2020 Animal Management Annual Report to council’s Regulatory Committee on Tuesday 13 October, Sarah said dog attacks over the last 12 months were down by nearly 5 per cent.

“The fantastic effort by our field services teams has seen a reduction in all aggression-related incidents, with 31 fewer attacks on people and 48 fewer attacks on other animals.”

The previous year there were 29 fewer attacks on people and 34 fewer attacks on other animals.

Auckland Council’s in-house Animal Management unit is the largest of its type in the southern hemisphere and provides both field services and animal shelters as well as dedicated specialist teams – including a team of Barking Advisors.

Sarah said nuisance barking complaints also saw a sharp decline this year.

“Due to the fact that most dog owners were home during the COVID-19 lockdowns, and able to control their dogs better, barking complaints were down nearly 15 per cent compared to the previous year.”

The team of Barking Complaint Advisors responded to 5810 barking complaints and issued 256 nuisance abatement notices during the year.

“The Advisors continue to do great work with both dog owners and the complainants – offering a range of tips and tricks so that dogs can continue to be a positive part of Auckland life.”

As Auckland grows, so does the region’s dog population. With 1561 more dogs registered in 2019/2020 the total number of dogs increased from 110,969 to 112,530.

The number of dogs impounded at council’s Henderson, Silverdale and Manukau Animal Shelters decreased by 19 per cent on the previous year – with a total of 5492 dogs impounded this year.

Sarah said a total of 372 dogs were adopted from council shelters “which is a fantastic result”.

“The Animal Shelter teams do an excellent job of looking after the animals in our care. And are always please to see a dog find a new home and family.”

Visits and proactive work at beaches, parks, reserves, and other public places by field teams substantially increased from 1202 to 2943 – an increase of 145 per cent from the previous year.

Field officers responded to 24,636 requests for service during the year.

Council's Regulatory Committee chair Linda Cooper says the report highlights the excellent work the Animal Management staff do.

“The hardworking and caring team are continuously improving the way they do things to ensure Auckland Council is leading the way in all aspects of animal management and I congratulate them on another year of great results,” Linda said.

Looking ahead

Later in the 2020-2021 registration year, Animal Management will facilitate a project to increase compliance with the microchipping requirement of the Dog Control Act 1996 for all dogs born after 1 July 2006. Details of the project will be announced later in the year.

Animal Management is committed to improving processes and work practices – both to ensure a safe Auckland, but also to provide our services at the lowest cost possible. Over the next year we will be looking at all ways that we can assist the organisation to save money and maximise resources.

Council’s Policy on Dogs

On 1 November 2019, the new Policy on Dogs 2019 and the Dog Management Bylaw came into effect.

The objective of the new policy on dogs is to keep dogs as a positive part of the life of Aucklanders by:

  • maintaining opportunities for owners to take their dogs into public places,
  • adopting measures to minimise the problems caused by dogs, and
  • protecting dogs from harm and ensuring their welfare.

Read the full 2019/2020 Animal Management Report here.

Read more: Dogs

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