Lessons learned, but Rosie was treated well

Published on 14 November 2019

Kaikohe offices, Far North District Council

The Far North District Council acknowledges the care of a stray Staffordshire terrier cross housed at its animal shelter could have been better, but denies the dog or its puppies were ill-treated or starved.

Darren Edwards Manager – Environmental Services says daily records kept on every dog housed at its animal shelters clearly show that the stray known as Rosie was well-fed during its stay. She was also taken to a vet the day she was picked up by animal management officers on 19 December 2018.

Officers immediately saw she was heavily pregnant and because of that, she was taken to a vet that day, he says. “Rosie was treated for worms and fleas, and assessed by the vet as healthy with no pregnancy problems.”

Mr Edwards says staff recognised Rosie was underweight the day she was picked up and extra food was provided regularly to help her regain condition. On 3 January, Rosie gave birth to 11 puppies, two of which died. She began gaining weight within days of the birth of her puppies.

Due to a lack of space at the southern shelter, Rosie and her puppies were transferred to the northern shelter at Kaitaia on 6 January. Unfortunately, the next day it was discovered that one puppy had died. The other pups and the dog were feeding well and extra food continued to be fed during January.

Unfortunately, Rosie then began losing condition and records show one puppy was taken to the vet after it was observed having difficulty walking correctly. Mr Edwards says that on 11 February, staff decided to return the dog and her puppies to the Kaikohe shelter and to take Rosie to the vet. 

He says that, in hindsight, staff should have intervened sooner when Rosie began to lose weight. “Rosie was a stray that was forced to scavenge for food. She was undernourished and heavily pregnant when picked up by the Council, and soon gave birth to 11 puppies. These were serious challenges to overcome in the two months she was in our care. It is extremely sad, as in this instance, that some dogs are impounded in such poor physical condition.”

He says that since Rosie was picked up in 2018, the Council has improved its processes. It has increased the number of animal management officers on staff and tightened the monitoring of dogs at its two animal shelters. The Council has also approved plans for improving and extending the animal shelter at Kaitaia.