26 Jan 2015

SPCA rejects ethnic group link to dog attacks

2:05 pm on 26 January 2015

The SPCA's national headquarters is distancing itself from comments by the head of its Auckland branch linking Pacific Island groups and immigrants with the high number of dog attacks in south Auckland.

Auckland SPCA executive director Bob Kerridge said ethnicity and cultural factors were partly responsible for the 314 convictions for dog attacks in the area between 2009 and 2014. In Auckland itself there were 77 attacks in the same period.

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy called Mr Kerridge's claims "unhelpful, wrong and incredibly offensive to a lot of people".

SPCA chief executive Ric Odom said Mr Kerridge's comments were his personal views and did not reflect those of the other SPCA staff.

"They're quite concerned that the public of New Zealand might be getting the wrong story when it comes to what the SPCA thinks about dealing with people of different ethnicities," he said.

"It's just not true. We deal with everybody. We proudly work with people who support animal welfare issues, and that's what we want to continue to do."

Mr Odom said society workers would be horrified if the comments led anyone to believe the views were shared.

Responsible dog ownership was something every owner should practice, regardless of ethnicity or socio-economic status, he said.

Labour MP for Mangere, Su'a William Sio, said Mr Kerridge's comments were distressing and stereotyping, and not helpful in finding a solution.

However he said dangerous dogs were a problem in South Auckland, and certain groups in the community owned and bred these dogs specifically for dog fights.

Mr Kerridge told Morning Report he continued to standy by his comments.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs