The Whakatāne District Council will be offering free de-sexing for certain breeds of menacing dogs, thanks to funding from central government.

The programme covers the Brazilian fila, dogo Argentino, Japanese toso, perro de presa canario, and American pit bull terrier breeds, and registered owners of these breeds will be contacted by Council in the coming weeks.

Graeme Lewer, Whakatāne District Council Community Regulation Manager, says the Council will also be offering free microchipping of theses menacing breeds at the same time. “It’s likely that regulations will be introduced in the near future that will require all dogs classified as menacing to be de-sexed and microchipped. This would normally cost around $300, so owners of these breeds are advised to get in quick so they don’t miss out on this opportunity. Our District has been granted $39,000 in funding for this project and we want to make sure we get as many dogs as possible involved in the programme.”

The government funding is part of a campaign to support a national action plan that aims to reduce the risk and harm of dog attacks by focusing on menacing breeds. The American pit bull terrier, for example, makes up just 2% of the national dog population, but accounts for 18% of registered dog attacks. In the Whakatāne District, there are currently 205 dogs classified as menacing, of which 136 have yet to be de-sexed, and Mr Lewer says the owners of these dogs will be contacted by letter in the near future.

He says owners will be allowed to take their dogs to a vet of their choice in Galatea, Edgecumbe, Whakatāne and Kawerau, but the Council may also be able to assist with transport in some cases. Mr Lewer also urges anyone who owns an unregistered dog classified as menacing to get in touch with the Council as soon as possible, so that they can be eligible to take part in the programme.

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