No excuses for dog owners, say police

Monday January 22, 2018 Written by Published in Crime
Police say only one in fi ve dogs on Rarotonga are properly registered. 18012115 Police say only one in fi ve dogs on Rarotonga are properly registered. 18012115

With only one in five dogs on Rarotonga correctly registered, Cook Islands Police have made it clear that the time for warnings has passed and say that action will now be taken against unlicensed animals.


A campaign to remind owners of their responsibilities has been running for over a year, and police have visited more than 1500 homes, counting 2789 dogs.

However, just a small proportion of the animals were correctly tagged, and police will embark on a registration crackdown this year.

“The police have a lot of power when it comes to dogs,” said a spokesman. “And we will not be listening to any more excuses from owners who have not registered their animals.”

Almost 200 dogs were put down last year and police have the power to destroy unlicensed animals on the spot.

The issue of destroying dogs has proved a controversial one on Rarotonga, with animal welfare groups, tourist operators and many residents unhappy about the policy of shooting animals.

However, police are adamant that action must be taken and say the results of the survey show how bad the problem has become.

They are also concerned that many pet owners appear unaware of the rules, do not realise licences need be renewed each year or understand that if a dog’s tag is lost it must be replaced.

The annual fee for a dog licence is $50 for a male and $60 for a female. Replacement tags cost $10, and police say that contrary to popular opinion a collar is meaningless unless there is a valid tag on it.

When dogs are first registered, proof that they have been spayed or neutered is required. The annual licence runs for a year after the date of registration.

The crackdown on dog ownership will be a police priority in 2018, alongside other initiatives to improve road safety and reduce domestic violence.

1 comment

  • Comment Link george heather Monday, 22 January 2018 22:45 posted by george heather

    highly intelligent decision! clearly the residences own the dogs ! shoot them 1st! thereafter the police officers without dog licences.

    almost every dog can be traced back to the place of residence so;

    1. written public warning in the paper.
    2. instant fines to residences concerned.
    3. secondary large penalty fines and costs for humane destruction of unwanted animals.
    4.sensible harvesting of meat for pet food donated to honey ester.

    one way or the other the government must setup a program for the sensible humane control of all animals in Rarotonga likely incorporating the good vets that have spent all their valuable time caring for our pets and other 123 legged food animals for consumption in the cooks . YES
    this needs to be backed by police enforcement, legislation and common human sense.

    if you need my help? I am available to write a sensible control measure that will surely take the horror out of this insane proclamation.

    great advertising Cook Islands. very concerned animal lover and citizen.

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