Owners of pitbulls and other menacing dogs are being targeted in a new de-sexing drive that Auckland Council hopes will reduce dog attacks on Aucklanders, particularly children.
With the help of a grant from central government, Auckland Council has launched its free texting campaign (TXT2DESEX), through which it offers free de-sexing until June 30.
The conditions are that dogs must be registered and classified as menacing under the Dog Control Act 1996. The offer is not means-tested. Owners of these dogs can simply text the word ‘yes’ to 3169 to say they’re interested.
De-sexing menacing dogs is a key component of reducing dog-related harm, according to Councillor Cathy Casey who chairs Auckland Council’s Community Development and Safety Committee.
“Desexing reduces aggression and wandering in dogs,” Cr Casey says. “It also prevents potentially thousands of unwanted puppies being born, giving the dogs already in our shelters a much better chance of finding a forever home.”
With the new text-in service, she says the council hopes to reach more Aucklanders, particularly those without access to computers or with fewer English language skills.
“We’re trying to reach all Aucklanders who own menacing dogs. We’re not trying to take their dogs off them – it’s perfectly legal to own a pitbull or other menacing-classified dog – we just want to help get these dogs under control and safe to be around, for everybody’s safety.”
The campaign follows a Council campaign last year that saw more than 1000 menacing dogs registered, de-sexed and microchipped.
Funding for the operation has been provided by central government as part of a national strategy to reduce the risk and harm of dog attacks.