COUNCIL SUCCESSFULLY PROSECUTES DANGEROUS DOG OWNERS WITH OWN STAFF
Ruapehu District Council (RDC) is successfully using in-house animal control staff with courtroom skills and experience to take prosecutions against owners of dangerous and menacing dogs.
RDC chief executive Clive Manley said that not needing to involve external legal firms in prosecutions makes it a lot quicker, easier and cheaper for council to take court action against bad dog owners.
“A full prosecution using an external legal firm has in the past cost council up to $10,000 so being able to take a prosecution with in-house resources is a huge benefit.”
“To date we have filed 23 charges against ten dog owners which has resulted in: ten convictions, six dogs destroyed and over $1,600 in fines and $4,400 in costs being awarded to council and victims.”
“Six of those owners have also been disqualified from owning dogs or having dogs living in the same house as them while the other four prosecutions are still before the courts.”
“We are hoping the success we are having in court will send a strong message about council’s zero tolerance policy toward dangerous and menacing dogs.”
Mr Manley added that the provision of body worn video cameras to the animal control team was assisting them in dealing with dangerous animal control situations and collecting evidence that can later be used in court.
“Unfortunately the owners of dangerous and menacing dogs also tend to be more aggressive and abusive when dealing with animal control officers,” he said.
“The new body worn cameras definitely help to calm tense situations down when people know they are being recorded and that the video can be used in any future court proceedings.”
“Council has a responsibility to ensure public safety and we are committed to using every available tool at our disposal to keep people and stock safe.”
“If you own a dog that attacks or worries people, other dogs or stock you can expect to end up in court.”