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Dog owners to prove they're up to the task

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/11/2016

Owners of high risk dogs will have to prove they're up to the job, including having their properties inspected, under a raft of new safety proposals.

Associate Local Government Minister Louise Upston has also proposed stricter penalties for owners of dogs that attack.

It's part of a national plan to reduce the risk and harm of dog attacks.

"We will require owners of dogs classified as menacing or dangerous to obtain a 'high risk dog owner license' from their council," Ms Upston said, announcing the new proposals in Rotorua on Wednesday.

It's a move welcomed by plastic surgeons, who say an average two people a day are hospitalised because of dog attacks.

"Data shows that over the last 10 years, over a third of those bitten were children, mostly with facial injuries," Plastic Surgeons Association president John Kenealy said.

Dog control and education policy and legislation needs to be strengthened, he said.

Wednesday's announcement follows the first tranche of measures announced in September.

They included the development of a behavioural change campaign to encourage responsible ownership and better public safety, as well as a nationwide neutering programme.

Ms Upston attended the launched of the programme in Rotorua on Wednesday.

Discounted neutering for menacing dogs will be available until June next year.

Legislation to enact the proposals is expected to be introduced to parliament in February.

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