Pound pack . . . Standing in the Waitaki District Council's pound are regulatory officers (from left) Sheridan Newson, Katelin Fleming and Kyle Sutherland, and senior compliance officer Tristan Hope. PHOTO: RUBY HEYWARD

The Oamaru pound facilities have been upgraded, and the Waitaki District Council hopes to upgrade public perception of it, too.

Senior compliance officer Tristan Hope said there was a big misconception over what the council’s animal control team did.

“We do much more than animal control,” Mr Hope said.

“We are not here to take people’s dogs. We don’t want dogs in the pound.”

The recently-upgraded pound facility has a new office space, updated cages, air conditioning and additional security. The latter was installed because of issues with people breaking into the old facility to take back their dogs.

Mr Hope put this down to a fear that their pet would be put down, but the council did not have that power.

Dogs were only destroyed if it was ordered by the court because they were dangerous or consigned by the owner.

Of the 80 to 90 dogs that went through the pound annually, destruction rates were “very low”. He estimated fewer than 10 were put down each year.

If a dog was not claimed within seven days of it being picked up, it would be re-homed by the pound or through Pound Paws Rescue.

Regulatory officer Katelin Fleming said one of the most common reasons why dogs ended up in the pound was inadequate fencing at people’s homes.

“Dogs wander when its hot, and people often leave doors and gates open.

“Without proper fencing, dogs could cause an accident. Don’t just assume your dog will stay in your yard.”

As dog ownership was picking up and owners were becoming more savvy, Mr Hope hoped more people would make contact with the council for information and advice.