Statement regarding dog euthanasia

Invercargill City Council Chief Executive Richard King says he disputes the allegation published by the New Zealand Herald today that an animal control officer “stomped” on a dogs head.

“We dispute that the animal control officer in the video was stomping the dog in the head. He was in fact disengaging the animal from the equipment,” he said.

“Nobody likes to see animals mistreated but that is not what is happening here. A captive bolt gun is regularly used to euthanise animals because it is much safer than using a firearm.”

“Council policy on dog euthanasia is that if an impounded dog is not claimed within seven days, and is deemed by an officer as unsuitable for re-homing, the dog will be euthanised by humane means. If an owner wishes that an impounded dog be euthanised, it will be arranged at the owner’s cost. All other relevant or accrued fees shall remain as a debt due to Council.

“Council always works towards re-homing dogs which are unclaimed from the pound if the dogs are suitable for rehoming.

“Council’s policy regarding the use of the captive bolt firearm was introduced in April 2016. This had the support of the local branch of the SPCA and was also viewed as a humane means of disposing of unwanted dogs.

“In the past, Council euthanised dogs by using firearms or by taking the dogs to a vet to receive a lethal injection. However, the process of lethal injection was stressful for both the dogs and staff.

“The dogs being euthanised are often dangerous, which means transportation from the pound facility to a vet could put staff at risk of being attacked. Further, these dogs may have been mistreated, or have never been to a vet before – the trip to the vet is often stressful for them. This means the dog needs to be sedated upon arrival, for the safety of the dog as well as for the veterinarian and Council staff. The lethal injection then takes longer to render the dog deceased.

“The captive bolt method which Council uses is a humane method of euthanasia which is safer for all staff, and for the dogs. It should be noted however that we do arrange to rehome dogs of a good temperament and generally only destroy dogs we believe are menacing and dangerous.”