With the number of issues arising around the “dog crisis”, as it’s been dubbed, Halatoa Fua has joined the calls for dogs to be registered and sterilised. It was unfortunate to hear of incidents involving out-of-control dogs, he said.
A 10-year old American tourist suffered scratches on his arm and back due to a dog attack at a beach near The Rarotongan Resort.
Security staff at the resort warned that if dog owners did not take responsibility than they would be catching these dogs and sending them to the veterinary clinic.
Cook Islands Security called on dog owners to take responsibility or be held accountable.
Managing director Chris Denny also highlighted the number of people he has come across who had been attacked by dogs.
Fua said this was an issue that needed addressing and key components of tackling this were through sterilisation, education and registration.
He said they would work with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, agriculture and police in order to ensure that the Dog Registration Act was enforced.
“Registering of all dogs in the Cook Islands is required by law to be done annually and not as a one-off registration. I’m discussing options with key partners in the tourism industry to raise with the Police and SPCA for immediate rectification,” he said.
Controlling dogs should include educating the public on dog ownership and implementing a sterilisation programme that effectively controlled the dog population on Rarotonga, as in the past.
“Effective dog controlling is important to ensure our locals and visitors are safe, as well as meeting the requirements of the law in regards to dog registration,” he added.