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Tackling Raro’s dog problem

Friday 24 February 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion


Tackling Raro’s dog problem

Dear Editor, After reading this article (Authorities ramp up dog euthanasia on Rarotonga, Cook Islands News, February 23, 2023), I’m really disheartened to see that the Cook Islands Police are clearly just blatantly shooting people’s pets. The numbers just don’t add up? 34 dogs killed in January by the Cook Islands Police – two involved in attacks and eight strays. That means that 24 of the dogs that were shot were obviously people’s pets? Was there substantial and fair effort made to contact the owners? Did they have time to come and collect their pets? Were they fined or given warnings before their fur family members were shot dead?

I’m so upset by these numbers and terrified for our animals. There needs to be a better system in place which isn’t just “shoot them all”, where on earth is the heart in this?

Not all dogs are dangerous and if they are found to be a nuisance or complaints are made then other structured actions should be taken by the Police before just shooting the poor things.

  • Warn the owner?
  • Detain the animal?
  • Fine the owner?
  • Charge them with an offence?

If all actions are ignored and disregarded then perhaps look at euthanising the poor pup.

I know I’m probably upsetting the apple cart with this comment but gosh. It just seems so ruthless.

Johanna Rose Vogel


How on earth and other planets did this dog problem get to this stage? That looks like a gang of dogs roaming the streets of Raro looking at opportunities to commit a crime.

Why put regulations in place when you can’t enforce?

Kimi Nooroa


We shouldn’t be blaming the dogs for the owners who abandon them. If we actually had any animal rights over here, then we wouldn’t be having a problem.

Are we going to be drug testing the dog ranger team members who are murdering the dogs?

Teale Higgins


Sad indeed, but necessary given the increase of attacks that are being posted. Legally they should all be wearing a collar with the registration tag on it so it can be returned to you if picked up by the SPCA, it’s that simple!

Janelle Namana


We saw that there were a lot of stray dogs around in Rarotonga. As much as we love dogs ourselves, very sad that those dogs have been left to wonder places, too many dogs on the island. Rarotonga is now very dirty with rubbish etc. Some dog owners need to control their dogs and keep them in their properties.

I feel sorry for these dogs.

Heybaibae Benioni Iotua Shaw


Friends of ours who hired a house in Arorangi last February had two dogs in their yard ripping the neighbour’s cat apart in front of their kids. They tried to stop the situation but the cat was basically torn into two. A horrible holiday memory and very sad for the cat’s owner.

But unwanted dogs that are showing feral, pack behaviour may be too hard to rehabilitate. And Raro home owners have lovely open yards usually. Not common to see a fully fenced property set up for dog ownership. Getting those that are there already, desexed, under control and healthy should be up there on the list.

It’s a tough one. Pets are wonderful to have, but you see bad ownership all around the world.

Sharon Hatley


Last week in front of MFEM building, Avarua, a pack of six dogs were chasing a cat. Lucky the cat got away and there were children coming home from school who would have also been traumatised if they caught it. It was so disturbing the way they packed up and were ready to kill.

Leanna Chappell-Kairua


Importing medicinal cannabis

Based on the argument of this case, the doctor’s paper has nothing to do with importing medicinal cannabis (What’s up at our borders? Cannabis confusion at the arrivals gate, Cook Islands News, February 18, 2023). But it’s about consuming the medicinal cannabis. The case is not about having the right to consume, but it’s about having no right to import illegal substance in our country based on what our law stated, and not what the doctor’s papers stated. The Customs worker that said to them that they can bring the medicinal cannabis with the doctor’s papers, doesn’t prove anything that these people shouldn’t be charge under the Act for importing illegal substance.

And I don’t blame the judge for letting the people with the medicinal cannabis go unpunished. For there’s no charge and much evidence been provided for him to see, and have a good ground on reasons not to let them go without conviction. That is because no further investigation been taken place.

But anyways, apart from all the dramas in this case, TMO (Health ministry) should act now on doing something about legalising the medicinal cannabis in our country as soon as possible. And store up our hospital with some of the medicinal cannabis so if people travel in our country, and they on the medicinal cannabis, all they have to do is to bring their papers from their doctors – and not to bring their cannabis medicine. When they get on our island, they go to our hospital and show our doctors their papers, and they get their medicinal cannabis from here, while they on holiday or something. Instead of bringing it with them on the plane and get charged for importing illegal substance. This the only way I can see to avoid these kinds of confusion and mistake from happening again at our border.

Mau Taverio