25 Jan 2015

Ethnicity a factor in dog offences - SPCA

2:30 pm on 25 January 2015

The head of the Auckland SPCA says ethnic and cultural factors are partly responsible for the high number of dog attacks in south Auckland.

Bob Kerridge said there were 314 convictions for dog attacks in the district between 2009 and 2014, compared to 77 for Auckland City.

He said there were other factors involved, including socio-economic ones, but the figures showed there was a lack of understanding in the area about the responsibilities of dog ownership in this country.

He said the mixed ethnicity, with large numbers of immigrants and Pacific Islanders, in south Auckland was partly responsible.

Mr Kerridge said many residents might come from countries where expectations and laws governing dog ownership were different, and education was the key to improving the situation.

"It's a fair suggestion that ethnicity does have a bearing factor in terms of dog attacks, particularly borne of the fact in the various of groups that we have - those of immigrant [groups] and Pacific Island people - that dog ownership is not natural to them."

But Mangere MP S'ua William Sio said Mr Kerridge's comments were not helpful.

"There is a need for general education for the general population generally about animal ownership and responsible animal ownership at that."

Mr Kerridge agreed better education was needed, and said it was the responsibility of local councils, although the SPCA was keen to assist.

He said licensing of dog owners, not the dogs, was also needed.

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