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By Tara Carr

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (August 21, 2000 – Cook Islands News)---"Now the work begins" says Nick Smith, the president of the Cook Islands Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (CISPCA), in relation to new dog control legislation.

The Dogs Registration Amendment Act, passed in Parliament last week, amends the Dogs Registration Act 1986 by allowing the Commissioner of Police to delegate his powers under the 1986 act to others, including the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Smith said, "What work we’ve done up to now is nothing. What we have to do now is a hundred times more work."

Smith said it has taken a lot of work and assistance from many individuals to get the CISPCA where it is today.


Within the amendment act is a new part four that has provision for dog pound facilities, the setting of pound fees, impounding and subsequent disposal of any dog in the pound.

The act also deals with notification of the destruction of any dog to be given to the society and "any person who fails to notify the society or surrender a carcass...commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $500."

Smith said that he has visited a potential site for an animal shelter but that is still to be confirmed.


He said it is now the society’s intention to operate a three-month dog registration amnesty period from October rather than September.

During that three-month period all dogs on Rarotonga must be registered at the CISPCA office and be issued with dog collars and registration tags. Pets that have already been registered must also be re-registered with the office.

After the amnesty and the establishment of the shelter, any dog spotted without a registration tag will be picked up and placed in the shelter.

The CISPCA will be working closely with the Esther Honey Foundation Animal Clinic, which will screen all animals that are placed in the shelter. The clinic will neuter or spay each animal before they are returned to their owners.

Dogs need only be registered once during their lifetime so members of the public are urged to use the three-month amnesty period to their advantage.

Smith said that the society will conduct yearly updates on all dogs. There will be minimal charges for the replacement of broken or lost collars, he said.

Apart from full backing from the government, the CISPCA office — "Paw Prints" located between the Police Department and the Energy Center bowser in Avarua — will be officially opened on Saturday August 26.

The office was opened to the public in June as a contact point for people on animal issues.

The office is also an information center for people wanting to learn more about the society, where pets can be registered and complaints lodged, where the society’s awareness program will be based and where people can find information on how to take a beloved pet overseas.


Smith, on behalf of the CISPCA, said he thanks the government for expressing their confidence in "that we have the capability and the enthusiasm to deal with this issue" and to the Police Department for their support on dog control issues that may require their assistance.

More support is still needed and will be appreciated, Smith said. "We are going to need assistance from businesses and members of the public. The reduction of the number of dogs and control of their behavior will benefit everyone, especially the tourism industry; so we are asking for their help and assistance to set up the animal shelter."

A sponsorship plaque, containing the names of individuals and businesses that contribute to the dog pound project, will soon be started. It will be placed outside the society’s office.

For additional reports from the Cook Islands News Online, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Cook Islands News Online.

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