Welfare focus for new animal shelter

Published on 26 July 2021

Ribbon cutting Northern Animal Shelter 23 July 2021_ John Carter and Claudia Lyons MBIE.jpg

Improving animal welfare was a key design focus for a new $1.5 million animal shelter the Far North District Council officially opened at Kaitāia on Friday.

The new Northern Animal Shelter, which can cater for up to 20 dogs, was opened by Mayor John Carter following an early morning ceremony at the Bonnetts Road site.

The shelter was custom designed by HB Architecture in Whangarei.  It includes 12 outdoor kennels, eight indoor kennels, separate quarantining facilities, exercise areas, and veterinary and storage facilities.

Mayor John Carter says the new facility surpasses New Zealand animal welfare standards and is a substantial step-up from the previous shelter located at the Bonnetts Road site.

“Public expectations about standards of animal care and welfare have evolved considerably over the decades. This new shelter reflects those expectations. Just as importantly, it will provide a safer and more pleasant working environment for our hard-working animal management officers.”

Design features include kennel sizes that exceed minimums in New Zealand codes of welfare, three exercise areas so dogs can spend more time outside their kennels, and separate quieter areas for elderly or more anxious dogs, as well as dogs with young puppies.

Mayor Carter says a huge advantage of a custom design was ensuring the whole facility can be easily cleaned to prevent the spread of diseases, such as parvovirus. That includes impermeable surfaces, solid separation barriers, and separated drainage, including in the exercise areas.

The new shelter was built by Kaitaia based construction company, KPH Construction, which began the work in September 2020. The project was completed ahead of time and within budget.

The Council received $1 million of COVID-19 economic stimulus funding from the Government for the new shelter last July. The funding is also helping to progress work on a new 14-kennel Southern Animal Shelter near Kaikohe. It is hoped this facility will be completed by July 2022, subject to availability of construction materials.

The new Northern Animal Shelter began receiving and housing dogs from across the district immediately after opening and all dogs in Council care will be housed there by the end of July. From August, no dogs will be kept at the Council’s temporary Horeke animal shelter, which is due to be decommissioned.