Renewed concerns about roaming dogs

Tuesday 8 September 2020 | Written by Katrina Lintonbon | Published in Crime


Renewed concerns about roaming dogs

Roaming dogs on Rarotonga are once again causing problems for people with several random attacks reported in the last few weeks.

An increase in dog attacks and near misses on motorbikes while being chased has residents and police demanding that owners start taking responsibility.

Police spokesperson Trevor Pitt said there have been several dog attack complaints in random locations around the island received in recent weeks.

It is a recurring problem on Rarotonga and the onus lies with the owners, he said.

Pitt has spent the last years promoting the rules and legislation around dog ownership.

In January, 27 feral dogs were shot by police after a number of attacks on livestock including tethered goats and pet cats.

Due to increased workloads, police have been unable to continue this culling programme.

Cook Islands Security director Chris Denny said he gave a dog control proposal to police last year to fix and maintain dog numbers. It was now getting out of control, he said.

The proposal outlines effective dog controlling by establishing a team of dog control officers to manage roaming dogs.

Dogs with collars and registration tags found will be fitted with Cook Islands Security Dog Control collar to notify owners that their dogs are roaming and would be impounded and transported to the SPCA if found again.

“Dog control management will reduce the number of strays, ill-treated and neglected dogs and also having owners take more responsibility caring for their dogs and getting them neutered,” Denny said.

“It will reduce the number of dogs on Rarotonga and significantly reduce the dog attacks and negative visitor experiences while visiting our beautiful island.”

Denny said the only animal clinic in the Cook Islands, Te Are Manu, is under resourced with only one animal doctor.

“Our only veterinarian clinic is under so much pressure with only one vet on the island. People need to take ownership of their dogs,” he said.

Two registered dogs are permitted for each household and the registered dog owner is responsible for any damage done by the dog.

No registration will be issued if a veterinary certificate is not presented to prove the dog has been spayed or neutered and it costs $60 to register a spayed female dog and $50 for a neutered male dog.

Fines of up to $500 can be imposed if a dog is not registered or the dog attacks livestock, a person or vehicle.