Caption details at end of story.
By Mike Barrington
A big stink has emerged over offal holes where dogs destroyed at
the Whangarei pound are dumped.
Thousands of dogs, most abandoned, have been shot and dropped in
the holes on the hill above the pound and the Children's Living
Treasure Forest on Kioreroa Rd.
Critics of Whangarei District Council dog control practices are
querying the methods and the council is to review dog control
policies and bylaws. The council has earmarked $240,000 for a pound
The review team - Crs Crichton Christie, Frank Newman and Sue
Glen - are expected to advertise next week for comments on pound
After exposure on TV3's Campbell Live show on Thursday, Keith
Thompson, manager of the council's animal control agency Environment
Northland, yesterday filled some holes and organised concrete covers
He said 388 dogs were destroyed at the pound in the past year.
Corpses go into seven 5m-deep holes recently drilled near the crest
of the hill. Topped up yesterday were other used holes where the
dirt had subsided over the years.
Mr Thompson said uncovered and unfilled holes were "bad". They
should have been filled earlier, which was "my responsibility, not
Also filled in were several empty or water-filled holes on the
public reserve. Mr Thompson said these had not been sunk during the
nine years he had been at the pound.
OSH inspectors earlier this week investigated the site.
Department of Labour Whangarei manager Ian Baxter said yesterday
that recommendations could be made to the council and Mr Thompson
early next month.
The Northland Regional Council is also checking the offal holes.
NRC monitoring manager Tony Phipps said farmers were permitted to
drill holes clear of water courses.
But they disposed of relatively small amounts of offal and he
considered the high number of dogs destroyed at the pound would
require a resource consent, which would probably stipulate the holes
be covered and better managed than they had been.
Cr Newman said yesterday he was pleased action had been taken
over the holes. He had been "horrified" when he saw them,
considering them "unacceptable" and dangerous for people using the
reserve, particularly children.
It was a "barbaric" way to dispose of dogs, Cr Newman said.
Lethal injections by a veterinarian were suggested on Campbell
Live as a better method of euthanasia than shooting.
But Whangarei SPCA manager Francine Shields said shooting was
"instantaneous and humane" as long as the person with the gun was
Whangarei Mayor Pamela Peters said that owners of dogs which had
to be destroyed had the option of taking the animal to a vet for
If the community wanted shooting replaced with lethal injections,
the council would consider making the change, but it would increase
dog fees, she said.
Along with the three-councillor inquiry, major pound upgrade and
dog regulations review, the council was expecting to begin
construction next month of a Pohe Island dog park where city people
could exercise their animals, Mrs Peters said.
Caption: Inspecting the holes for dead dogs are, from left,
mayoral aspirant Warren Slater, dog owner Allan Fillery, Cr Frank
Newman, and German yachtsman and council critic Heinz-Jeurgen