Nick Smith posturing on dogs | The Jackal

26 Jan 2012

Nick Smith posturing on dogs

Yesterday, the NZ Herald reported:

Nearly 12,000 people suffered dog bite injuries last year, including more than 1700 children aged under 10 - many of whom will be left with scars.

The number of attacks requiring medical attention has increased since 2003 when 8677 people were attacked, including 7-year-old Carolina Anderson who has needed years of surgery after being mauled in an Auckland park.

Despite new laws meant to toughen up dog control, that's an increase of 35% since 2003 for people getting treatment for dog attacks. So why the huge increase in the amount of dog attacks and subsequent injuries?

The problem is that worsening social conditions results in more dogs being uncared for properly... this leads to hungry and sometimes abused (angry) dogs roaming the streets looking for food. Some dog owner's are simply unable to look after and register their dogs because of their financial circumstances. Unregistered dogs are nine times more likely to be involved in attacks.

That's why it's unhelpful to see Nick Smith, who isn't even the Minister for ACC, grandstanding about the issue... being that it's largely National's policies of reducing social spending that have led to a worsening dog control problem. Despite the association, Nick Smith decides to pontificate about the long-standing issue:

Local Government Minister Nick Smith is seeking a more detailed breakdown of the statistics, including trying to establish how many of the attacks have caused serious injury, occurred in public places and left children permanently maimed.

He plans to use that information in a review of current dog control laws to see if there is anything else that can be done to prevent serious attacks - but is warning in advance there are "no magic bullets".

"We have got 500,000 dogs in New Zealand so it's just impossible to prevent every dog bite or injury. The number of ACC claims is static, albeit, nearly 12,000 is a lot of people that have been hurt by dogs.

"The attacks that are of a particular concern to me are those that occur in public places and even more so where they involve children."

Mr Smith promised to review the laws this week after three children were seriously attacked.

If Nick Smith actually gave a damn about the increasing number of dog attacks, he would ensure that people could register and feed their animals properly.

Until the government actually understand the results of their archaic and socially destructive policies, we will continue to see similar dysfunction. After all, that's what you get with dog eat dog politics.