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New members join Police dog ranger team

Saturday 21 January 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Local, National

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New members join Police dog ranger team
Police Commissioner Turepu James Keenan signed off warrants for Mata Nooroa (Cook Islands SPCA), David Pokia (Cook Islands SPCA), and Dr Michael Baer (Te Are Manu Veterinary Clinic) to provide support in assisting police with dog control. POLICE MEDIA/23012058

For the first six months of this financial year (July to December), Police says, the Dog Ranger team has put down 174 dogs.

More than 20 dogs were put down last month alone.

Police spokesperson Trevor Pitt said that of this number, just over 20 per cent were reported attacks on animals with three per cent involving humans.

He said at least 30 per cent of the dogs destroyed were wild, and nine per cent were strays.

This week, Police Commissioner Turepu James Keenan signed off warrants for Mata Nooroa (Cook Islands SPCA), David Pokia (Cook Islands SPCA), and Dr Michael Baer (Te Are Manu Veterinary Clinic) to provide support in assisting police with dog control.

This includes de-sexing, registration and awareness about ownership responsibility.

According to Te Are Manu Vet Clinic, its chief medical officer Dr Baer received this warrant for the sole purpose of being able to provide veterinary care to animals needing medical treatment where the owner is either unable or refuses to provide treatment as well as for the purpose of de-sexing dogs to assist with population control.

“Te Are Manu will not take part in any Police activity that is contrary to our mandate of providing quality care to the animals of the Cook Islands.”

Pitt said another two members will join the dog ranger team, submitted by Cook Islands Security’s Chris Denny and financed by Cook Islands Tourism, by next week.

The representatives are appointed for a period of 12 months, authorising them to assist the Police Dog Ranger team, in the efforts to manage the issues associated with dogs around Rarotonga.

Commissioner TJ Keenan issued the warrants with legal advice on the implications of the authority provided by Senior Sergeant Tuaine Manavaroa from the Police Prosecution Office.

He said Police will maintain an overall authority to enforce the law, particularly in terms of dealing with menacing dogs, which pose a threat to people and livestock.

In an earlier report, Denny said he was pleased that they will now be working alongside the police force to solve the dog problem.

The Dog Registration and Animal Control Committee formed in April, 2021 consists of representatives from the Cook Islands Police Service, Ministry of Agriculture, Te Are Manu (Cook Islands) Inc., Cook Islands SPCA and Cook Islands Tourism.

It aims to strengthen the dog registration process and animal control in Rarotonga and establish a dog and animal control investment plan.

The committee also looks into community outreach programmes, a review of all legislation and regulation relating to dog registration, animal welfare and livestock, and to develop a Pa Enua animal welfare and livestock management plan.

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