Dog policy upsets owner

A Tauranga dog owner who had to cut her holiday short thanks to an administrative error by the council claims she is ready to quit the region because of the city's dog laws.

Jo Dempsey's Staffordshire bull-terrier Bo ran away from home after becoming frightened by neighbourhood fireworks last Saturday night.

Bo the staffie.

And according to Jo, Bo became a victim of the city council's non-rehoming policy which applies to the breed.

The nine-year-old dog is registered, microchipped and has two phone numbers on collar tags.

He was found in a distressed state by a resident who called the council and Bo was picked up at around 11pm. Owner Jo was out of town and didn't find out he was missing until the following morning.

Repeated calls to the council came up against the same denial - Bo was not impounded. Then they said he was, but it was the wrong dog.

Jo eventually had it confirmed that Bo was in the pound, but according to animal control team leader Brent Lincoln, council staff didn't know he was there because of an ‘administrative mix-up'.

She explains: 'I am now moving from Mount Maunganui to Hamilton where my partner lives as I do not feel safe having my two dogs living under the TCC dog laws.

'As a homeowner and rate payer for 17 years, a dog owner for ten years of which registration has always been paid, I am utterly disgusted at the blatant negligence and prejudice of our TCC.

'The fact is my dog is micro-chipped, registered and has a name tag, and not one person bothered to advise me he was in their care.”

Her claims that authorities are blocking owner access to certain breeds of impounded dogs is being denied by the council's animal control team.

'In this incident, the phone numbers attached to the dog were phoned but there was no reply and the dog was impounded,” says Brent.

'The dog had been entered into the pound's system but that information had not been updated into the overall council system. Once the situation was clarified, the owner was contacted and the dog was returned with an apology and without charge.”

It was described as an 'administrative break down” and Brent admitted he would be 'absolutely gutted” if the same situation reoccurred.

'We had a really robust discussion with everybody that had to deal with that situation, and we've re-tweaked everything so it won't happen again.

'The pound is a separate building, so the impounds are done and the information is then transferred to the mainframe and when the information is in there the call centre can access it.

'Unfortunately, the right button wasn't pushed at the right time.”

Jo, however, remains convinced it's because Bo is a staffie. The same thing happened last time Bo was impounded four years ago, when the delay in owner contact was put down a faulty microchip reader.

The city council does have a non-rehoming policy for bull breeds says Brent. But the council has to obey the law.

Under the Dog Control Act 1996, the council is legally required to hold dogs for seven days from the day they are impounded. If it's a registered dog, Tauranga City Council holds the dog for a further seven days.

'If the council cannot contact an owner by phone, we write to them at their last known address and the seven days process starts from that letter, not the date of the impound,” says Brent.

'The provisions apply to every dog that is impounded and unclaimed bull terriers are not re-homed.

'They just feature so high in the bite attacks that we can't take a risk of that type of dog being adopted to someone and becoming an issue.

'After seven days, if there's no contact from the owner and if it's unregistered, that dog will be assessed and if it's of those bull breeds it would be euthanased.”

With some councils 40-50 per cent of the dogs that go in don't come out. Tauranga City Council's rehomes about 85 per cent of impounded dogs or returns them to their owners, adds Brent.

Jo says she had to pay $700 to change her flights because she was concerned she would not get Bo back from the pound.

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Oh my god!

Posted on 14-11-2014 16:06 | By Theway

'Unfortunately, the right button wasn't pushed at the right time.” What sort of monkeys are working at the council? Maybe the council should employ another 5 people to make sure that the button is pushed!!

Feel ya

Posted on 14-11-2014 16:29 | By Graceh

I wish I had the option to move from this town. In my experience in dealing with BOP animal control officers they are highly incompetent. I'm unsure they even know how to use a computer. My unanswered emails to them would suggest not.

councils attitude

Posted on 14-11-2014 16:30 | By hapukafin

unfortunately Jo the council couldnt care a stuff where you live


Posted on 14-11-2014 16:52 | By

I am Jo the owner of Bo and the subject of this story. The council NEVER tried to contact me and have not confirmed what number they phoned, AND they state "Once the situation was clarified, the owner was contacted and the dog was returned with an apology and without charge.” They never once made contact with me, I had to come home early and handle the situation myself, what a bunch of liars. They have clearly admited their non-rehoming policy for bull breeds, yet expect me to believe their bullshit.


Posted on 14-11-2014 17:30 | By Capt_Kaveman

im lost for words re TCC


Posted on 14-11-2014 17:32 | By adrie

I have just read this article on TCC Dog policy in utter disgust!!! I personally phoned the TCC on Sunday 2nd November early am to report the missing dog. After waiting on the line the lady came back and said there was definately NO DOG in the pound by that description. She sympathised with me and asked if I could please let her know if he is found so they can take him off their watch list. Consequently we spent the next few hours anxiously driving around the streets looking for him. Then I get a call from my daughter in Australia to say he was in the pound. I had given my phone number as well, why was I not called. When I was told by the TCC late Sunday that they could not possibly let him out until Monday. I phoned early am and got him out,NOAPOLOGY!!!!!


Posted on 14-11-2014 18:04 | By Corubakid

I had a visit from the TCC whilst I was @ work one day they had come to find out whyy little foxy hadn't been registered (I had always had him registeted every year since I had him as a puppy) sadly I had to put my little boy down just shy of 13 years. He was not known to the TCC eg never bit anyone or ran away etc sure yes, I was remiss for not informing them of his departure but seriously wdnt their time etc be better spent locating all the wandering/dangerous dogs in like the Gate Pa area (I used to live there so I know) also there have been numerous dog attacks @ the park out there. Surely their time would be better spent there instead of hounding a responsible dog owner? What are we paying for?!

Don't trust the council.

Posted on 14-11-2014 22:48 | By FunandGames

we had our dog taken by the ranger from our front yard. Council claim they got him 100 meters down the road. Problem 2 neighbours witnessed it and told the ranger the dog belonged on the property. Our dog was such a pest the neighbours came to his defence. Council responce next time we'll fix him so he doesn't leave home again. Liars

What about the SPCA?

Posted on 14-11-2014 23:24 | By Hannahbell

If the council has a policy on not rehoming "Bull Breeds?", then why does the SPCA constantly have "staffy cross" up for adoption?? What is the difference? The problem is some people own these beautiful breeds for the wrong reason. We own a Staffordshire Bull Terrier simply because they are an amazing breed of dog to have around children. Treated correctly they are loving, loyal and a true member of ones family.


Posted on 15-11-2014 00:01 | By Bella3

What I can't understand is why the council has to charge as much as they do to register a dog, what do we get for it??? If it was a reasonable price maybe more people would register their dogs. At least down the South Island they supply you with doggy poo bags. In Perth WA they charge you $40, and that is to register your dog for three years.

A Serious Discussion Needed!

Posted on 15-11-2014 09:00 | By Disappointed

A fundamental failure by animal control staff and an accusation that the "team" leader is being less than truthful in his account of events would suggest that a serious discussion on the culture and performance of this department is needed.

Looking Back

Posted on 15-11-2014 10:21 | By jill

I don't think the council was all at fault here. There is a well known Security company here in Tauranga that does the after hours Dog Control. I no from experience with them they are a bunch of - Mickey Mouse come to my House. bunch of Monkeys. Not Ants.

No Excuse

Posted on 15-11-2014 10:34 | By Horsefly

There is NO excuse for this, as dog owners we pay a fee for service that just was not delivered in this occasion. Same story over and over "administration break down".

Looking Back

Posted on 15-11-2014 10:39 | By jill

This Security company does Dog Patrol at nights 7 days a week and all of the weekend, I would start asking questions there as well.


Posted on 15-11-2014 10:54 | By Really

A dangerous breed of dog was on the loose, good on the council for taking it off the streets before it hurt an innocent child. I agree with Jo that it will be a win win for both her and Tauranga for her to move to Hamilton with her dog.

Don't lie

Posted on 15-11-2014 12:37 | By MMMMDOT

'If the council cannot contact an owner by phone, we write to them at their last known address and the seven days process starts from that letter, not the date of the impound,” says Brent. This is a LIE. They DO NOT contact by phone-their policy is to make ONE attempt to contact via letter and if for whatever reason you don't respond your dog will be put to sleep after 7 days. In cases where they have had cellphone and homephone numbers I know that they have not used them to contact owners because they don't need to "according to the policy"!!


Posted on 15-11-2014 16:46 | By Capt_Kaveman

is why last election is to not to only clean out the whole council but the staff as well but really this 7 new ones are doing nothing

Dog control

Posted on 16-11-2014 13:27 | By Tyraone

Yes I agree something needs to be done about these efficacious dog control type officers. they need to change their attitude, why wasnt the owner contacted directly when Jo the staffordhire was found?? Staffordshires are a neat breed I have had a lot to do with same at dog shows and have judged the breed on numerous occasions and have never found them aggressive. We dog owners pay though the nose re registration fees and I think it is high time the owners were registered not the dogs. I am a NZ Kennel club member and our dogs are registered for life with them and we pay big money for the privilege. I personally have no respect for councils or dog rego policies I think it is high time they cleaned up their act and maybe it is time the cats were picked on they need to be registered

Sad News

Posted on 19-11-2014 11:59 | By SB

I picked up a puppy on the 21st October and rang the council who sent the security guy to pick up the pup. Very efficient service. BUT, I just by chance saw an ad for a missing puppy last weekend and rang the owner to find that the puppy I picked up was hers and no the pound has never reported to have her puppy. Now been resolved that they did have the puppy and have put it to sleep despite her been on the councils back the whole time. Devastated family to say the least and I wish I had never called them to pick up the puppy now! :( They definitely need to relook at the service all dog owners are paying for!!!!

Something a miss?

Posted on 24-11-2014 17:19 | By YOGI BEAR

With all the dog things, a mess in the money tin and costs dumped all out of TCC HQ and spread around. More staff on the payroll than exist so as to justify employing more than before. Like Dog Control is not the only area, water is like that to.

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