An increasing number of unregistered and feral dogs have continued to cause serious concerns amongst the people on how it is being handled.
Responsible for the registration and enforcement of any dog-related animal control legislation, Niue Chief of Police Tim Wilson told BCN News on Monday this week that despite their efforts to address this growing concern, people are responsible for the welfare of their pets.
“The dogs are always going to be a problem. The dogs birth more dogs than what we can shoot every year. So it has really come upon the owners of the dogs to try to get their dogs desexed, take care of them and get rid of the ones that they don’t want instead of just letting them run loose.”
Each year, the police department conducts a dog survey to determine the number of dogs on the island.
According to Chief Wilson, the current number of dogs on the island received from their last survey is 454. This number only includes the registered dogs and the dogs that the owners claim as theirs but have not been registered. Feral dogs are not included.
The current number of registered dogs is 142.
There were two recent dog attacks that occurred within the same week that were reported to the Police.
Chief Wilson says that the “Police are working on investigations to figure out which dogs those were and obviously those dogs once we determine which ones they were will be put down and the owners will be charged with an offence for allowing their dogs to be out and attack somebody.”
Although it is the first incident of dog attacks that have been reported in the past year, Chief Wilson encourages the public to take responsibility in lessening such impacts from happening by taking care of their dogs.
“If you have a dog that you don’t want, bring it to us or get a hold of DAFF if you want it euthanized with a shot and we will try and help take care of those requests so that they don’t continue to be feral and have more feral dogs and the problem just gets out of control.”
“We have a pretty robust dog program. We go out and shoot a lot of dogs and try to put a lot of dogs down. This coming week, we are getting ready to go out and shoot a bunch of more dogs,” says Chief Wilson.
The Niue Police department has put down approximately 200 dogs in the last year.
“The only way we are ever going to be able to get ahead of this problem is if people have their dogs desexed and if they get rid of ones they don’t want instead of just throwing them out to the bush or taking them down to Tafalalo,” says Chief Wilson.
Meanwhile, the Rock Vets returned to the island last Monday and will be leaving on Friday this week. Their work has been mainly around desexing dogs.
So far they managed to desex more than 130 dogs in the last week since speaking with Rock Vets Founder Sasha Nowell on Monday this week. The team will be returning in March 2023.