1 Oct 2012

No change to dog laws despite injury increase

6:15 pm on 1 October 2012

The Government says no changes will be made to dog control laws despite ACC records showing injuries have jumped by a third since controversial laws were introduced to curb them.

A total of 11,708 people suffered dog-related injuries last year compared to 8677 in 2003, when the law came in.

Since January 2010, ACC has spent about $5 million in treatment costs for more than 27,000 dog- related injuries.

The Government was reviewing the law earlier this year, but the Department of Internal Affairs, which is responsible for local government, has since advised minister David Carter that no changes are needed.

Mr Carter says any dog bite injury is a concern, but with more than half a million dogs in New Zealand it is impossible to design legislation that will prevent every bite or injury.

ACC says dog-related harm can encompass a range of injuries from bites to tripping over an animal.

The principal of the Palmerston North Canine Behaviour Centre, Paul Hutton, says it is pretty obvious there has been an increase in dog bites. "I can't think of when I heard about someone being injured tripping over their dog." he says.

Mr Hutton says reducing the number of dog bites starts with owners taking their dog's potential for harm much more seriously.