Nukutere College principal Delaney Yaqona has serious fears for the safety of his students after incidents where they have been chased across the school grounds by roaming and aggressive dogs.
Yaqona is appealing to dog owners in the vicinity of his school’s grounds to keep their pets contained in their own yards or tied up.
He has had enough of having to deal with numerous dogs both stray and owned, roaming around the school at night, where they rip up sponges on the outside benches and tip rubbish bins over leaving a mess behind that his students have to clean up in the morning.
But what is most concerning, Yaqona said was on at least two occasions dogs have chased students.
In one incident children were chased by a barking dog across the school grounds.
Yaqona said the dog was agitated and aggressive but fortunately a staff member was there and managed to chase the dog away before it could do any harm.
“Our students were fine but it’s not a good look on the school when our students are subjected to this. Since then we have been more vigilant in making sure that our staff are chasing these dogs away when we see them,” Yaqona said.
“All the dogs appear to be unregistered, roaming our school grounds and being both a nuisance as well as a danger to our students.”
Despite their efforts to deal with the issue, the dog problem has been ongoing for more than two years and a complaint has been filed with Cook Islands Police.
“We are working closely with the police to sort this issue out. We have had enough! We would like to appeal to the community, particularly those nearby Nukutere College to please keep your dogs tied up,” he said.
“Our students should not have to be subject to this kind of behaviour by your wandering dogs.”
Roaming stray and unregistered dogs have been cause for concern in Rarotonga in the last month.
In a spate of attacks by a pack of wild dogs, pet goats and cats have been severely injured or killed in the Nikao area.
Two officers from Cook Islands Police have been tracking the dogs and have culled a number of them.
Police spokesperson Trevor Pitt said any complaints about roaming dogs causing a nuisance should be filed with police.
A registered dog owner must ensure that the dog is kept under control at all times, he said.
“Your dog is deemed out of control if it is found at large on any land or premises without consent of the owners or is found at large in any public place,” he said.
Failure to register a dog can result in the owner facing a court conviction and being fined $500.
A dog owner will also be prosecuted if their dog attacks a person, livestock or a vehicle and fined $500 and the dog will be destroyed.