17 Feb 2020

Dog owner charged over kiwi death

1:06 pm on 17 February 2020

A dog owner has been charged after the discovery of a dead kiwi in the Coromandel last year.

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File photo Photo: Department of Conservation

The remains of the kiwi were found on a private property near Papa Aroha coastal forest - a known kiwi habitat - in July.

Two dogs had been linked to the death by DNA, the Department of Conservation said.

The department's acting operations manager in Whitianga, David Agnew, said charges were laid against the dogs' owner under the Dog Control Act and they would appear in the Thames District Court next month.

Eight kiwi were killed by dogs in the Coromandel last year.

Dogs were also a major killer of kiwi in Northland, and a Northland dog owner would appear in the Kaikohe District next month over a similar incident in July 2018.

"Dog attacks on kiwi undermine significant long-term investment and work by DOC and its stakeholders and partners to protect these important birds," Mr Agnew said.

"Incidents like these can be devastating both for the birds' population, and also the many people who commit time and energy to kiwi protection. Kiwi deaths from dog attacks are even more tragic because they can be prevented."

The department urged dog owners near kiwi habitats to keep their dogs tied up at night when kiwi were active, and keep them on a leash in kiwi environments.

Dog owners could also put their animals through kiwi aversion training, and details of those courses were available from local DOC offices.

The department's national compliance manager, Marta Lang Silveira, said the department took its compliance and legislative responsibilities seriously as it strives to protect the country's native species.

Dog owners had a key role to play in ensuring species like kiwi could survive in their natural habitats, she said.

DOC would file charges under the Dog Control Act where there was evidence dogs have killed kiwi, she said.

The maximum penalty the court could impose was a $20,000 fine or up to three years in jail, and an order for the dogs to be destroyed.

Anyone who saw a roaming dog on public conservation land was urged to report it to 0800 DOC HOT.