Horowhenua dogs have their day - in pound
Of 6000 dogs registered in Horowhenua, at least 10 per cent are impounded each year, and about four a week are put down - shocking figures, a local animal advocate says.
The statistics are from the latest animal control report by Horowhenua District Council, and regulatory services manager Mike Lepper said they were similar to past years.
HUHA animal sanctuary founder Carolyn Press said the numbers demonstrated an unfortunate culture in New Zealand of dog owners not offering their pets adequate care, mainly through ignorance.
The most common reasons for dogs to be impounded were if they were found wandering, were unregistered, or were involved in an incident, Lepper said.
Dogs were then put down if they were not claimed, or were unsuitable to be rehomed.
The council tried to rehome suitable dogs as often as it could through agencies such as HUHA. Typically homes were found for about 50 a year.
"Our officers are also dog owners and members of the community, dogs are euthanised at the vets, but this is the least liked aspect of the job for our officers," Lepper said.
Press said: "It's a New Zealand culture . . . people don't know that there's a better way to do things, they are just unaware.
"They think that having a dog chained in the back yard is cool, but that's how you grow behaviour problems, and then the pound come in or you get wandering dogs, and really the dog is the victim of all of it."
The ability of an owner to care for a dog adequately should be considered thoroughly before getting one as a pet, she said.
Royal New Zealand SPCA chief executive Ric Odom said most dog owners cared for their pets well, however irresponsible owners created a bad situation for both the animal and the community.