Positive results continue following consolidation

Council’s Animal Management unit biggest in Australasia

Publish Date : 26 Nov 2020
Positive results continue following consolidation
Auckland Council's animal shelter staff work tirelessly to find dogs their forever homes.

Following the amalgamation of the region’s eight legacy councils in 2010, Auckland Council’s Animal Management unit is now the largest animal control unit in Australasia.

Providing both field services and animal shelters, as well as dedicated specialist teams, the unit is committed to improving processes and work practices to ensure dogs are a positive part of Auckland life.

“Our role is to ensure dogs and other animals are sufficiently controlled to prevent harm and nuisance to the public – contributing to a safer Auckland for both residents and visitors,” Animal Management Manager Sarah Anderson said.

Prior to 2014, Animal Management Officers (AMOs) in the west and north were managed by the council – with AMO’s in central and south managed by contractors.

“Bringing the management of our field services inhouse means we can offer Aucklanders a more consistent and improved service across the region,” she said.

Sarah said the consolidation of the unit’s processes and policies following amalgamation has been successful.

“We’ve seen a reduction in all aggression-related incidents, with dog attacks down by five per cent last year, and there’s been a sharp decline in nuisance barking complaints.”

Sarah said shelter adoption rates remained at 100 per cent – with a total of 2611 dogs rehomed since 2010.

“Staff at our animal shelters promote the adoption of unclaimed, suitable dogs and work tirelessly with other welfare and rescue agencies to find the best possible outcome for these dogs. It’s fantastic to see that 100 per cent of these dogs find their forever home.”

The regionalisation of the Animal Management unit also ushered in a new Dog Management Operational Strategy, detailing a strategic plan and vision for the unit’s future and business development from 2015 to 2025.

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

Chair of the Regulatory Committee Councillor Linda Cooper said the aim of the new policy and bylaw was to create regionally consistent rules and controls for multiple-dog ownership as well as time and season rules for dog access in public places.

“The objective of the new policy is also to keep dogs as a positive part of Auckland life,” Clr Cooper said.

“It’s also about 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.”

Running a large successful animal control unit came down to a dedicated team, Sarah said.

“There is no doubt that our passionate Animal Management staff are the driving force behind our unit’s success and we will continue to build on the foundations we have worked hard to put in place,” she said.

Several operational and proactive initiatives have been introduced since the merger including a de-sexing and microchipping programme – as well as a specialist barking unit.

Technology has also helped make it safer for field staff with the introduction of load-bearing vests and body-worn cameras.

Furry facts:

  • There are 91 Animal Management staff (including 46 Animal Management Officers (AMOs) operating in North, West, South and Central Auckland)
  • Staff operate 24/7 in response to all urgent and high priority requests
  • Animal Management have staff working across three shelters based in Henderson, Silverdale and Manukau
  • There are 112,530 known dogs in the Auckland region
  • The average age of all dog owners in the region is 48.3 years
  • The most preferred dog breed in Auckland is a Labrador Retriever (13,793 of them).
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