The campaign, which started in Arorangi, involved going door to door to check the number of dogs, whether they are registered and desexed, and whether the animals are in good health.
New Zealand tourist Sue Cooper said while she enjoyed her most recent visit to the Cooks, there was a noticeable increase in the number of dogs and she and her family members came across packs of roaming dogs which they found “quite intimidating”.
Cooper, whose concerns were published in a letter to the editor in CINews on Monday, said she was put off taking walks on the back road due to dogs barking at her, and her family was woken by barking each night.
“I hate to be a moaner, but I really feel the situation needs to be addressed urgently,” she said.
The law requires all dogs to be desexed and registered with the police, and each household is permitted to have no more than two dogs. However, inspector Arama Tera said police are encouraging people to have only one dog, particularly if they are not able to manage and feed two.
Police finished visiting households in Takitumu last week, and will be revisiting some homes soon.
The checks have resulted in many dogs being taken to the Esther Honey Foundation to be desexed, while other dogs have been relocated or put down.
“They’ve done a good job,” said Tera. “They’ve been assessing homes and they’ve moved a lot of dogs.”
Tera said many people have called him to ask for an exception to be made.
“People have rung my office but I told them, what the officers have told you, I’m not going to change that.”
He said dogs are only put down after the owner has been given time to rectify the problem – such as getting the dog desexed or finding it a new home – and have not taken action.
To register a dog for its lifetime costs $60 for a female and $50 for a male.
Esther Honey perform desexing operations for free, asking only for a donation in the form of funds or services in return.