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Loose dogs

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Christchurch...
posts: 9
reviews: 2
Loose dogs

We have recently returned from Rarotonga for our annual holiday (for the past 5 years) and have noticed the increase in stray dogs roaming the beach and roads. Don't take this the wrong way, we both like dogs but this has the potential to become a real problem if numbers increase. Raro is definitely a real paradise but not if there are packs of dogs roaming the beaches!

65 replies to this topic
Rarotonga, Cook...
Destination Expert
for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland
posts: 7,596
reviews: 101
1. Re: Loose dogs

Kia Orana Edward B, welcome to the Cook Islands forum.

"Packs of dogs roaming the beaches" ? I urge you to contact either Tourism or the police as soon as possible to advise them about the situation that you encountered. Only through these means can people involved in addressing these types of situations respond accordingly. I'm sure that you will agree that its' proactive to err on the side of caution by communicating this problem with the appropriate authorities, than to have an alarmist reaction evolve through social media channels?

I am sorry to hear that an event like this marred your holiday. Kia Manuia.

Christchurch...
posts: 9
reviews: 2
2. Re: Loose dogs

The event did not marr our holiday. We just hope that the amount of dogs does not increase and it would be nice to think that the appropiate authorities will be proactive about the increasing amount of stray dogs.

Kelowna, Canada
posts: 44
reviews: 6
3. Re: Loose dogs

Hi Edward, we recently returned from a month on Muri Beach, our 4th trip to Raro, and found exactly the same situation. We LOVE dogs and it is a highlight of our trip to walk the beach and have several favorites (some who we know from previous trips) join us. However, this trip, we definitely noticed a large increase in the number of dogs, as well as in their territorial and aggressive behavior. There were several days we would cut our morning walk short in order to protect our walking companions from attack.

Frangipani, we did make the effort and spoke with the Esther Honey Foundation, as well as the owner of Captain Tama's Lagoon Cruises about his aggressive dogs coming out and attacking others. This is not meant to be alarmist, but informative.

As a repeat visitor, I was shocked to see all out fights between dogs on the beach, right in front of Captain Tama's business. There were several very disturbing incidents, with small children nearby. I work with dogs and was actually frightened by the behavior of these particularly territorial dogs.

As a tourist with a friendly well behaved beach dog accompanying me on a walk, I don't enjoy being threatened by snarling, growling, fighting dogs that sit on the beach in front of this business every day. When we spoke to Capt. Tama, we were told this was the norm. I disagree - in 4 visits, we had never encountered anything remotely like this. We pointed out to him that this had the potential to be dangerous to beach goers, as well as a negative reflection on his business. The local authorities need to address this before something tragic and entirely preventable occurs.

We had many discussions about this with other repeat visitors who also felt the same way.

Rarotonga, Cook...
Destination Expert
for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland
posts: 7,596
reviews: 101
4. Re: Loose dogs

I doubt that the people working at the coal-face of dog nuisance and canine control will be reading posts on TA, or indeed responding to social media issues, unless awareness is raised through official channels.

If anyone has a concern, and it looks like there is cause for concern, otherwise this thread wouldn't be here, then I urge people to speak up about these types of incidents and risks with the appropriate authorities on Rarotonga.

I am aware that Esther Honey as a voluntary agency is making serious attempts to address the problem through surgical interventions. In this respect they are doing an amazing job. If you feel that matters need to be taken further then by all means seek support through several government agencies where your actions will count.

Edited: 6:55 pm, May 23, 2012
Costa Mesa...
posts: 40
5. Re: Loose dogs

Now that you mention it we also noticed more dogs last time we went and the fights referenced in from of the lagoon cruise on Muri as we stay at Te Vaka Roa usually. We have been going regularly since about 2005. When we first went there lots of dogs on the beach. We love walking with them and had our favorite. Problem is that if you tell the police they have a tendency to solve the problem through the use of a firearm. There was a marked decline in the population on Muri until recently. I don’t know about the rest of the island. We have our favorite 66 aka Horse who lives in Muri and are hoping to see him on our next trip.

Kelowna, Canada
posts: 44
reviews: 6
6. Re: Loose dogs

Hi there, we too had our favorites. This "Horse" fellow - is he a very tall gangly dog, skinny and beautiful - looks like Marmaduke??

If so we call him Dukie and he is a true sweetie. We spent some great walks with him in March and April. There is also a delightful girl with a tag, named Lulu. She is gorgeous and sweet. You would definitely have seen some fights at Te Vaka Roa. I know what you mean about the police, I don't want them put down, I just want the aggressive ones kept home or tied up. Don't ruin it for them all. They have such a wonderful existence.

Costa Mesa...
posts: 40
7. Re: Loose dogs

Yep that is him. He is the tallest dog out there I have seen. He was one of the first dogs that came and stayed with us apparently he is pretty old the locals told us maybe 10 but still full of life. And he has a bit of a reputation as a rogue one man told us he attacked his dog and sent it to the hospital. Horse is a bit like our German Shepherd we have here very loving to people but not so nice to his own kind from what I have seen. But it is a dog eat dog world out there and you have got to survive!

Rarotonga, Cook...
Destination Expert
for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland
posts: 7,596
reviews: 101
8. Re: Loose dogs

I think you'll find that the dog control policy is more humane in 2012. For a start each residence is entitled to have 2 registered dogs. Secondly, with Esther Honey's population control program in action, coupled with the new-look SPCA having a marked effect on progress, plus members of several community watch-dog groups being strong advocates for animal welfare means the dogs stand a better chance to be cared for.

No-one will do anything until an issue is brought to the attention of those involved in animal control/welfare. Perhaps the Muri community don't see wandering dogs as being an issue even? If you believe that the Muri area does have a problem, it would be useful to raise your concerns with a village elder, community leader, or the Vaka-police officer for that area.

Coromandel
posts: 39
reviews: 3
9. Re: Loose dogs

One of my first trips to Raro involved training a dog ranger there around 12 years ago. Joe was his name and i believe he was also in the police force. I am not sure if they even have a dog ranger there now but i do know he did an awesome job after i returned to NZ. He copped a lot of flack from some locals because of some of his ways of handling things but beleive me, we are much less lenient with dogs and their owners here in NZ. Through all my visits since (at least twice each year to visit my papa) i noticed a decline in roamiing dogs up until 2010. I have since noticed an increase both on the beaches and at schools again. I am due back in Raro next week and will track down Joe and the appropriate authorities to see if they need help again or what we can do to change this situation.

nz
Destination Expert
for Norfolk Island
posts: 4,159
reviews: 152
10. Re: Loose dogs

I agree with other posters about the increasing problem of aggressive dogs on Raro.

Our experiences in the last few weeks were not on Muri but on Tikioki/Titikaveka beach. Like other posters, we enjoy our beach walks, often in the company of the resident dog. This time (our 13th visit) it was common for barking dogs to rush out and confront us – both when we were alone as well as accompanied by the dog. And we turned back on several occasions. These dogs were not just barking – they were aggressive and baring their teeth – I was concerned.

This was a new experience for us on this beach. But aggressive dogs had previously been increasing inland where we go for walks. It used to be that some would bark when we walked past and then go back to sleep. Now they rush on to the road to confront us. We now avoid some places.

Luann – I remember when dog registration was introduced – free for the first year and most dogs had registration tags. This changed when charges were introduced. I remember reading about Joe, the ranger, and it seemed that the dog problem was coming under control. But, yes, Joe got a huge amount of flack for doing his best to do what he had been employed to do.

It would be great if you could find out what is happening when you visit next week. Rarotongans seem to have developed a taste for larger and more aggressive dogs.

Samoa has a bad reputation for aggressive dogs – tourists are advised to carry a couple of stones in their pocket – I did but never needed them, thank goodness. I wouldn’t like Raro to go the same way.

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