Animal control leaves Wellingtonians to do dog catching
A BERHAMPORE resident was advised by the council to walk a stray dog to her employer’s house and tie it up.
The advice came in a phone call during which the operator said animal control workers are based in Upper Hutt.
They would not travel into Wellington – which outsourced animal control last year – unless the dog was secured.
Wellington student Emily Brouwer was on her way to a nannying job about 8pm on Wellington Anniversary weekend when a dog began following her.
She says the animal, a medium sized ridgeback, was not friendly looking but did not display aggressive behaviour.
With the help of a passer-by she convinced the dog to come over and discovered it was registered with the council.
After calling the council phone number on its collar, she was told by a phone operator that the public holiday made this a “tricky situation”.
The council worker called animal control and then told Ms Brouwer that no one would come to get the dog unless it was either secured or running through traffic.
Ms Brouwer says the phone operator then asked if she “had some rope or something”.
She explained to the operator that she was not carrying any rope, and that if the dog continued following her it would soon be running through traffic.
The council worker said she had to consult with her supervisor.
Shortly after this the operator returned and Ms Brouwer says she was advised to let the dog follow her to Karori and secure the animal on her employer’s property, and that once this was done animal control would come.
“You have got to be joking. Do you have any idea of the distance between here and Karori? It’s more than an hours’ fast walk away. Not to mention, what if it decides to stop following me? Or worse, starts running through traffic, or attacks someone?
“So basically the council’s answer to being followed after-hours by a strange dog is to allow that strange dog to keep following you for several kilometres to your workplace where there are two young children.”
Ms Brouwer asked why the owners could not be contacted and get the dog themselves, and was told by the operator that they did not have access to the owner’s details.
At this point the man who had helped restrain the dog volunteered to take care of it, and Ms Brouwer continued to Karori.
Animal control called her next morning and apologised, saying they had experienced problems with that dog before.
Hutt City Council animal control chief Damian Nunns says if Ms Brouwer had secured the dog an officer would have been dispatched to collect it.
“Our procedure after hours and on public holidays is only to respond to urgent jobs, a wandering dog is not classed as urgent.”
An officer travelling through the area at about 9pm conducted a patrol but found nothing.
Ms Brouwer says Wellington needs an on-call animal control service based in the city.
“The council’s first priority should be the safety of the people. What they suggested was not only unsafe, but it involved putting otherwise safe people at risk,” she says.