Little Leo was in a pitiful state when he was dumped at NPDC’s dog pound.
The maltese/jack russell cross had been horribly mistreated, his fur was completely matted and he was covered in fleas. It took two animal control officers to remove him from the holding pen because the abuse he had suffered had made him so aggressive.
His condition was one of the worst officers had ever seen but his story has a happy ending thanks to one NPDC staff member who fostered him and then became his owner.
“The first time I saw him, I couldn’t even touch him because he was so angry,” says Melinda Christensen, whose work as an administrator involves the dog pound. “So I sat outside his cage talking to him for an hour. He was grumbling and shaking.”
Staff at the Rifle Range Road facility, who look after about 600 dogs each year, had asked Ms Christensen to be a foster carer for Leo because he could not be rehomed in the state he was in. “I went again and sat next to him in the cage. He came over and nudged my hand and then was happy to let me stroke him. It was quite a breakthrough.”
The SPCA said they would have prosecuted if they had been able to track down Leo’s previous owners.
Ms Christensen’s partner was initially reluctant to take in Leo as they already have two other small dogs, Willie and Minnie. “He said no at first but now Leo has become his dog!”
The foster care eventually changed to permanent ownership and the transformation in Leo in the year since he was abandoned at the pound has been amazing. “He is still scared of grooming because of what his owners did to him but in every other respect he is awesome. He loves people, his home, our other two dogs and my partner.”
NPDC External Relations Manager Jacqueline Baker says animal control officers have a difficult job, especially when dealing with animals which have been mistreated.
“They do a great job not just in dealing with problem cases but also finding new homes for animals,” Ms Baker says. “Fortunately there are a lot of other success stories like Leo’s thanks to the public taking on animals they’ve seen on the pound’s Facebook page.”
- Members of the public looking to adopt a dog should check out the pound’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/NP-Pound-334371706921639/) or contact NPDC on 06 759 6060.
Dog pound fast facts
- During 2017, 630 dogs were impounded.
- Other impounded animals have included pigs, sheep, goats, horses, hens, cattle and even a cat (which was collected by the SPCA much to the relief of the cat).
- The new section built in 2011 provided an extra 40 pens to the existing 25.
- Because of the increased capacity dogs not claimed by their owners have a higher chance of being rehomed. Before that happens dogs have to be assessed to determine their suitability to be rehomed.
- A lot of time and effort is put into the dogs. Their pens are cleaned daily and the dogs are moved into exercise pens. At times for could be as many as 30 dogs in the pound so the feeding and cleaning takes time.
- If there are other animals at the pen like horses and cattle then they need to be checked daily and feed supplements like hay if required. Goats are tethered so need to be moved to fresh grass daily.