A petition calling for the Government to allow microchipped,
registered and desexed dogs to stay in state houses has been
backed by more than 300 people in its first day.
The appeal from Dog Rescue Dunedin (DRD) asks Housing
Minister Nick Smith to allow responsible dog owners to sign
on as Housing New Zealand (HNZ) tenants.
Earlier this week, the Otago Daily Times revealed
through documents released under the Official Information Act
that ''the [HNZ] executive team agreed to tighten the dog
One document said ''the corporation will be progressively
moving to a `no dog' policy but will allow dogs in
The circumstances included a dog trained to assist a person
with a disability; a dog important to a tenant's therapy for
a mental illness or other chronic health conditions, a dog
that had been at a property for many years and had been
present at inspections.
DRD manager Michelle Hagar said she wanted HNZ to allow
responsible dog owners to live in state houses.
The petition for Dr Smith went live at 9pm on Thursday and
had more than 300 supporters by 9pm yesterday.
Ms Hagar expected the petition to be delivered to Dr Smith
with 100,000 supporters.
The petition would be shared with other animal rescue
organisations in New Zealand, to increase support.
''Please support this petition,'' Ms Hagar said.
''You never know when your circumstances may change.''
Dr Smith said he would consider the petition.
''However the dog policy is long-standing and unlikely to be
HNZ tenancy services acting general manager Jackie Pivac said
HNZ's dog policy was not new - the corporation had always
discouraged dog ownership in its 69,000 state houses.
''Dogs can cause damage to our properties, be a nuisance to
neighbours and make it difficult or unsafe for our tenancy
managers or contractors to visit our properties ... Having a
dog can make it difficult for people to move on to private
sector accommodation as many private landlords don't allow
HNZ generally did allow dogs but made exceptions on a ''case
by case'' basis using ''common sense and compassion''.
Dunedin City Council housing manager Sharron Tipa said there
were no dogs in the 941 council flats in Dunedin.
The council flats were not fenced and were unsuitable for
dogs, she said.
Mrs Tipa said an application for a working dog for a blind
tenant would be considered by the council but an application
from a tenant with a mental illness would not.
DRD petition at