Successful year for Animal Management team

Publish Date : 04 Oct 2018
Successful year for Auckland Council Animal Management team

It has been a successful year for Auckland Council’s Animal Management team, which works hard every day to keep both Aucklanders and dogs safe in across the region.

The council’s in-house Animal Management unit is the largest of its type in the southern hemisphere. It provides both field services and animal shelters, supported by a regional dispatch team as well as dedicated specialists.

The 2017/2018 Animal Management Annual Report, which was presented to the council’s Regulatory Committee on 4 October, comes after three full financial years of operation.

The council's Regulatory Committee chair, Councillor Linda Cooper,  congratulated the Animal Management team on its hard work and well-earned results over the year.

“It has been another great year for the team and not only have they succeeded in processing a huge number of dog registrations, educating owners on dog control and welfare and running five shelters across the region; they are also continuously improving they way they do things and ensuring that Auckland Council is leading the way in animal management.

“The number of dog registrations has gone up by 10 per cent this year, which is a direct result of improved technology that makes it easier for Aucklanders to get their registration processed and paid for," she says.

“Registering your dog easily allows for it to be returned home and provides opportunities for owners to educate themselves about their responsibilities. It also significantly increases the council’s ability to manage dog-related safety and nuisance issues.”

Animal management: By the numbers

  • A total of 102,954 dogs were registered over the last year, which is 93.6 per cent of all known dogs – the best results in three years.
  • The team received a total of 28,905 requests for service over the year.
  • 14,787 requests were priority one requests, which require attendance within an hour or less. Animal Management responded to 99.4 per cent of these priority one requests within this optimal time frame of one hour.
  • 7457 dogs were impounded in one of the council’s shelters, a 12 per cent reduction from last year.
  • For the third year in a row, the team found new homes for 100 per cent of dogs that were suitable for adoption. A total of 479 dogs were rehomed across the year.

Auckland Council’s Manager, Animal Management, Sarah Anderson, says these results reflect the commitment that the team has to continuous improvement, particularly in the challenging environments in which they work.

“We have had some strong results across the board, and it is great to see the numbers of registrations going up, and the number of impoundments going down.

“Last year we also undertook some work to improve our shelter facilities; we have installed a pool at our Silverdale shelter, improved our exercise yards and added a stand-alone veterinary space at our Henderson shelter that will be used predominately for de-sexing work.”

Busy year keeping Aucklanders safe

Ms Anderson says the key focus for the Animal Management Unit this year was on reducing dog-related harm.

“Our officers have focused on making sure owners are compliant with menacing and dangerous dog classifications,” she says.

“As a result of this work, we’ve seen the number of dog attacks reduce by four per cent, and the numbers of roaming dogs has dropped by 18 per cent; and we are really proud of this progress.”    

  • Officers have issued 2933 infringement notices to dog owners who have failed to keep their dogs confined or under control.
  • 237 people were prosecuted for breaches of the Dog Control Act; mostly relating to dog attacks.
  • 4,297 dogs are currently classified as either menacing or dangerous, and 90 percent of these dogs’ owners are complying with the mandatory requirement for their dogs to be neutered.

Leading the way in animal management

Several operational initiatives have been introduced this year that reflect the role Auckland Council plays as an innovative industry leader.

“We’ve introduced a team of barking advisors this year to better respond directly to the 7149 dog nuisance barking complaints received during the year. This not only means complaints are dealt with more effectively, but it also gives our field officers more time to focus their efforts on the proactive harm prevention in our high-risk areas,” says Ms Anderson.

“Our unit is also the first within Auckland Council that are now using body-worn cameras, and all of our officers have now been issued when them as a health and safety initiative.”

“We are also very excited about the introduction of DNA testing, and we are the first in New Zealand to use this tool to scientifically link a dog to an attack, and subsequently, to a prosecution.” 

“Over the next year, we are aiming to build on the foundations we have worked hard to put in place this year. We’ll continue to strengthen our compliance approach and make sure our team are where they need to be to keep Aucklanders and dogs safe.”

Read the full 2017/2018 Animal Management Report here.

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