Dog control officer bitten by pitbull terriers

Published: Mon 22 Nov 2004 09:26 AM
Dog control officer bitten by pitbull terriers
Pitbull terriers are under the spotlight after an Auckland City animal control officer was bitten by a pitbull terrier at Mt Wellington.
Auckland City is taking a proactive approach in ensuring menacing dogs are under control, as part of council’s obligations under the Dog Control Amendment Act 2003. Last week, the council sent 120 letters to owners of dogs that are of an american pitbull terrier type, informing them that the dogs have been classified as menacing and must be neutered. Dogs with this classification must also be muzzled when in public places.
“The attack highlights the problems we face – we are trying to protect the public by identifying menacing animals, while at the same time our officers are being attacked,” says Geoff Atherfold, team leader, compliance monitoring.
There were three dogs at the property, one of which escaped through a hole in the fence and cornered the officer at the front door.
She was bitten on the left leg by the male pitbull terrier and has been treated for moderate injuries, including puncture wounds, bruising and grazes.
The dogs, two of which were unregistered, have been impounded and taken to Redvale Shelter.
“It is vital that owners of menacing dogs such as pitbull terriers take the necessary measures to ensure they are under control at all times,” says Mr Atherfold. “Responsible dog ownership is encouraged by Auckland City to ensure the safety of the public and minimise dog attacks.”
Letters sent to owners of american pitbull terriers in Auckland city confirm these dogs were classified as menacing under section 33A or section 33C of the Dog Control Act 1996 and that the owner of the dog must: not allow the dog to be at large or in any public place without being muzzled ensure the dog is neutered within one month of notice of classification (receipt of the council’s letter) ensure the dog is microchipped within two months from 1 July 2006.
Auckland City animal control officers physically assessed each dog in line with the Act between June and September this year, to confirm they are of the american pit bull terrier type. This type of dog has quite distinctive characteristics, which can vary depending on the animal. Officers follow a checklist of criteria to determine whether they fit within the type.
The owner has the right to object to the classification of their dog as menacing and may do so, in writing to the council, within 14 days of receiving the classification. If an owner objects to the classification, he or she must provide evidence that the dog is not one of the breeds or type listed in Schedule 4 of the Act.

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