Responsible dog ownership

A black dog walking on a leash.

As a dog owner it is your responsibility to:

  • ensure your dog is registered
  • ensure your dog is microchipped
  • provide your dog with exercise, shelter, food and clean water
  • keep your dog under control at all times
  • always have your dog on a leash in public places, unless you are in a designated off-leash exercise area
  • always supervise your dog around young children and / or strangers.

Our animal management staff can help you to be aware of your responsibilities as a dog owner and to understand problem behaviour in dogs.

If you want advice on any aspect of dog ownership contact us or the SPCA on 09 438 9161

By desexing your dog you can take an active role in eliminating the cycle of unwanted births and preventing the needless suffering and death of homeless pets.

Registration fees are also less for desexed pets.

Benefits of desexing your pet

Desexed pets generally live longer, are healthier and are less likely to wander, fight and get lost or injured.

Other benefits include:

  • a reduced risk of diseases such as cancer and diseases of the reproductive organs
  • lessening of antisocial behaviour such as spraying indoors
  • a reduction in certain aggressive tendencies in male dogs.

Owners are legally responsible for cleaning up after their dogs on any property that’s not their own.

This means carrying a plastic bag whenever you’re in public with your dog. Dog waste bags are available at Council offices or the Pound in Kioreroa Road.

Failure to clean up after your dog could result in a $300 fine. 

Dogs that are roaming or off leash can:

  • intimidate and harm people and animals
  • create health and hygiene problems by fouling in public and scattering rubbish
  • cause traffic hazards.

If a dog has shown itself to be menacing or dangerous, we may take the following actions under the Dog Control Act:

  • issue a warning or infringement notice
  • file a prosecution (if the offence or harm is significant)
  • classify the owner as probationary or disqualify them from ownership
  • classify the dog as dangerous or menacing
  • impound the dog pending the court decision.

No matter how well you know a dog or how friendly the dog looks, any dog is capable of attacking and causing you serious harm. Dogs can attack when they feel provoked, nervous or when they think their owner might be threatened.

It’s important to know how to behave around dogs:

  • don't approach or run away from a dog
  • don't use fast or sudden movements
  • don't look directly into a dog's eyes or lean over the dog (these are dominant behaviours)
  • always ask the owner first if you want to pat their dog

Always be mindful of young children around dogs. If a dog appears threatening, back away slowly and try to keep a defensive barrier between you and the dog, but don't use anything as a weapon.

Dogs are able to kill kiwi in all life stages and are the number one killers of adult kiwis in Northland.

Dogs of all sizes, breeds and training find the strong distinctive scent of kiwi irresistible and easy to track, they can catch and kill kiwi in seconds and it can happen during the day as well as at night. Kiwi are particularly vulnerable near clusters of human settlement, including subdivisions, if there are no dog restrictions, and in more isolated areas where pigs are hunted and dogs are sometimes lost.  

Many residents are unaware of where kiwi live, the scale of the dog threat, or the ease with which dogs can kill and the fact that any dog can kill a kiwi. Awareness among dog owners is key to protecting kiwi from dogs.

Find more information about the district's biodiversity and what you can do to protect kiwi.

Save kiwi in Whangarei(PDF, 709KB)

Biodiversity Strategy

If you find an injured animal, please contact the SPCA on 09 438 9161 or Council us on 0800 932 463 or 09 430 4200 (24 hours a day). 

Please contact the SPCA if you believe a dog is being mistreated.

Please contact police if stock is on the highway or have caused an accident. 

Be ready to provide details of the animal and its precise location, together with your contact details.

It is important that injured animals receive treatment quickly. Other than emergency first aid, you should never attempt to treat an animal yourself.

If you find an animal that has been injured, it is important to remember the following points:

  • approach an injured animal carefully. Fear and pain can induce aggressive and unpredictable behaviour, even in your own pet.
  • call for professional assistance as soon as you have assessed the situation.
  • where possible and safe to do so, confine the animal and/or stay with it, keeping it quiet, still and warm.
  • if the animal is badly hurt, do not try to move it unless it is in a dangerous place such as on a busy road. Do not panic. Always put your own safety first.
  • if you need to move a badly injured animal, use a blanket to form a stretcher. You can also use a lead as a temporary muzzle to prevent being bitten.
  • do not attempt to feed or give water to an injured animal.

Remember that the best way you can help an injured animal is to call for professional help immediately.