The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Resource material › Dog Control › Dog safety message from Internal Affairs

March 2016
Thank you to everyone who provided comments on the Enforcement Guidelines under the Dog Control Act 1996, your assistance is much appreciated.

As you may know, in 2015, the Rules Reduction Taskforce (the Taskforce) called for submissions from New Zealanders about rules they find annoying. Submissions from around the country noted difficulties in the dog registration process and, in its report The loopy rules report: New Zealanders Tell their stories (.pdf, 1.7MB), the Taskforce called for ‘better information and resources to help dog owners and councils to manage their responsibilities’.

It is the role of councils to provide information to dog owners about their responsibilities, and to promote safety around dogs. The Department recognises the fantastic work you already do in this area. Thank you to of you who joined us in sponsoring the dog safety lesson in the Starters and Strategies educational magazine.

It is the Department’s role to assist councils to understand their dog control responsibilities. The Enforcement Guidelines are designed for this purpose. By providing additional guidance, we aim to encourage certainty about particular responsibilities under the Dog Control Act 1996. With your feedback, we have developed supplementary information to be read with the Enforcement Guidelines. This includes information about online dog registration, the roles of councils and the RNZSPCA in animal welfare, and the implications of the Search and Surveillance Act 2012 for dog control officers. This supplementary information now available on our website: Supplementary Information to the Enforcement Guidelines under the Dog Control Act

December 2015
As we prepare for the holiday season and the year ahead, the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) would like to thank you for your hard work to keep your community ‘dog safe’ this year.

We acknowledge there are many fantastic council-led initiatives around the country, including handbooks for dog owners, school visits to teach children about dog safety, and successful dog re-homing programmes. We have also heard stories of dogs that enjoyed their stay at the local pound so much they later returned of their own accord!

Safety around dogs this summer

The summer is a great time to play, exercise and relax outdoors with our families and pets. This is also a time when we see a spike in dog bite incidents. You may like to remind locals and holiday-makers to take care around dogs, and to supervise children and pets, especially in the backyard and at the beach. It would also be timely to remind dog owners of their responsibilities and to protect their dogs from the sun/heat.

Have you submitted your annual dog control report?

For local dog control to be effective, it is important for your council to have a visible dog safety policy and programme in place. We appreciate many councils have already published and submitted their annual Dog Control Policy and Practices Report, in accordance with section 10A of the Dog Control Act 1996. Any outstanding reports can be submitted to the Secretary of Local Government by email to or by post to:
The Department of Internal Affairs
PO Box 10-526
Wellington 6143

Have your say on the Enforcement Guidelines

DIA produces the following resources to assist you and your community:
  • the Dog Box, an educational resource kit for primary school-aged children;
  • information and advice on the website;
  • dog control statistics on the website; and
  • Enforcement Guidelines under the Dog Control Act 1996 (the Enforcement Guidelines).
The Enforcement Guidelines were produced by Internal Affairs in 2009, in collaboration with Local Government New Zealand, the Society of Local Government Managers and councils. The document sets out examples of good practice and encourages information sharing and collaboration.

We are currently reviewing the Enforcement Guidelines, for re-issue in early 2016. To ensure the revised guidelines meet your needs, we invite your comment by 29 January 2016. If you are a dog control officer or dog ranger, we are particularly interested in whether you have used the guidelines, any suggestions to improve the content and format, and details of other guidance that you have used.

To provide feedback on the Enforcement Guidelines, order free copies of the Dog Box, or if you have any other queries, please call us on (04) 495 7200, or email us at Please note that our office will be closed from 5pm on Thursday 24 December 2015, until Tuesday 5 January 2016.

The team at Internal Affairs wish you a safe and enjoyable break over the holiday period. We look forward to working with you again in the New Year.
Go to Dog Control web page