Manukau Courier : May 28th 2015
Thursday, May 28, 2015 Hundreds of dogs die ❝ By ANNA LOREN FOUR times as many dogs are being put down at the Manukau animal shelter than at any other in Auckland. Latest figures show more than 2000 were euthanased at the shelter in Wiri in 2013-14. By contrast, 496 West Auckland dogs, 384 central Auckland dogs and just 133 North Shore dogs were put down in that same period. Manukau councillor Alf Filipaina says the high South Auckland figures are ‘‘the pits’’. ‘‘It’s sad. It’s shocking, really.’’ He is pleading with dog owners to desex their pets to keep unwanted puppies out of pounds. ‘‘People need to realise that if you let your dog have puppies and you don’t have the time to look after them, you’re basically sending them to be euthanased,’’ he says. ‘‘You’re letting them come into life and then saying, ‘Your days are numbered’. That responsibility’s on your head.’’ Auckland Council, which runs the shelters, will be piloting a desexing campaign in the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board area later in the year. Manukau shelter team leader Zarene Gerbich says the campaign will aim to educate owners about their responsibilities. Most dogs that come into the shelter are not desexed, registered or microchipped, she says. Details of the pilot cam- paign are yet to be finalised but it could include discounted desexing operations offered to low-income owners. Time and financial reas- ons can stop people from neutering and spaying their pets, Gerbich says. ‘‘I think in a lot of cases the intention is there, they just don’t get around to it.’’ Any dogs impounded at the council’s animal shelters have seven days to be claimed by their owners. If they are not claimed they are put through health Manukau animal shelter team leader ZareneGerbich says more people need to desex their pets. Photo:ANNALOREN and temperament tests to determine their suitability for adoption. Pit bulls and other breeds deemed ‘‘menacing’’ by the Government are not considered for adoption and are euthanased as a matter of course. Of the 2003 dogs euthan- ased at the Manukau shelter in 2013-14, 1833 – nearly 92 per cent – were of a menacing breed. The remaining 170 dogs were euthanased for health reasons or for failing a temperament test. A total of 211 dogs were adopted and 1646 were returned to their owners. People need to realise that if you let your dog have puppies and you don’t have the timeto look after them, you’re basically sending them to be euthanased Manukau councillor Alf Filipaina Councillor Alf Filipaina says the number of dogs being put down at theManukau animal shelter is ‘‘the pits’’. PIT BULL POLICY QUESTIONED The founder of a Manurewa animal charity says pit bulls and pit bull crosses should be considered for adoption alongside other dog breeds rather than being routinely put down. Taryn Gibbs from the animal rescue group Passion4Pawz regularly fostersand rehomes pit bulls to stop them from going to the pound. She says each dog should be assessed on its individual temperament, rather than its breed. A lack of care has more bearingon whether a dog is vicious than its bloodline, she says. ‘‘It’s the type of people they attract that gives them a bad reputation. Pit bulls are not put in the situation where they get to be an amazing dog.’’ The American pit bull terrier,Brazilian fila, dogo argentinoand Japanese tosa are all classified as menacingunder the Dog Control Act. Auckland Council policy is not to rehome those dogs as they have been overrepresented in serious or fatal attacks on people. SPCA Auckland also does not put menacing breeds up for adoption, although other SPCAs in New Zealand have been known to. Gibbs says it can be difficult to tell if a dog is a pit bull without DNA testing. ‘‘You could get a staffy mixed with a greyhound and it would look like a pit bull.’’ But Gerbich says staff at council sheltersare trained to assess a dog’s breed by comparingit against a checklist of physical characteristics. ‘‘A six week-old puppy which has muscle definition in its back end ... no other dog has that,’’ she says ‘‘We’re not putting dogs down just because it looks a bit like a pitty.’’ A pit bull terrier at the pound. Animal shelter holdinggarage sale for puppies Lonely pups will benefit from a garage sale on May 30. The Auckland Council’s Manukau animal shelter is hosting the sale to raise funds for its canine residents. All proceeds will go towards toys and playgrounds to keep dogs in the shelter ‘‘excited and stimulated’’, team leader Zarene Gerbich says. Furniture, electronics and knick-knacks will all be on offer for shoppers. Twenty-one dogs have been adopted from the shelter so far this month and five more are still waiting. ❚ The sale runsfrom 9am to noon at the shelter at 33 McLaughlins Rd, Wiri.
May 26th 2015