Exceptional dog proves rule at open sanctuary

Dogs are prohibited from entering Shakespear Open Sanctuary, especially since the introduction of kiwi earlier this year, but there is just one exception – Max, the farm dog.

Max, a Smithfield sheepdog, was recently brought in to work with ranger Jared Anderson on the sheep and cattle farm at the open sanctuary.

He is allowed within the pest free fence only because he (and Jared) completed a kiwi aversion programme. All Council managed farm dogs in regional parks with kiwi are taken through the training, which teaches dogs that detect the scent of a kiwi to avoid going near the bird. This means no muzzle is required for Max – he will undergo annual re-evaluation under the aversion training scheme.

Dogs are prohibited at Shakespear Open Sanctuary as they endanger wildlife. Kiwi are particularly vulnerable because they sleep on the ground and have an easily detectable scent. Any dog can sniff out and quickly kill a kiwi with a single chomp and shake of their jaws.

Anyone who sees a dog inside the pest free fence that is not meant to be there should report it immediately by calling 09 301 0101.