News reports of horrific injuries to a Waikato woman who was set upon by eight pig dogs while jogging highlight a huge difficulty for local authorities. Apparently none of the eight dogs involved in the attack was registered, although two older dogs on the property were registered.
All Councils have bylaws requiring dogs to be licensed and lay down various responsibilities for owners. Unfortunately there is a group of dog owners who consider themselves above the law. Their dogs are typically not registered and they are often there to provide "security" for the owners, meaning they are trained to be aggressive and/or are dogs which have a particularly aggressive disposition. Most of these dogs are neither neutered nor spayed which means that the problem is perpetuated by endless litters of puppies.
The Masterton District Council is struggling with this issue according to a recent report in the Times-Age.
Here's a couple of suggestions I'd put to the Council:
Ask neighbours to report seemingly dangerous dogs, or dogs they suspect may not be registered, to the Council. It would be a simple matter for Council staff to check their dog licensing database to see if dogs were registered at the property, and follow up with a visit if no registered dogs appeared on the database, or there were other concerns. Ditto wandering dogs.
Dog Control Officers can't be everywhere and won't necessarily be able to spot dogs hidden in the backyard. A Dob in a Dog media campaign, repeated at regular intervals, might help spot some of these animals before they become serious problems.
Use all possible remedies, within the law, to impound and destroy such animals and advertise these penalties widely.
Encourage dog owners to take their dogs to dog obedience classes by subsidising the cost of basic obedience training and/or providing an easily-accessed local venue to the obedience trainers, and reducing the registration cost for dogs which have a certificate from an approved obedience course. This might well help with dogs "rushing" people and attacking other dogs and make life much easier for the owner as well.