Former Dunedin City Council senior animal control officer
Jim Pryde retired last month after 38 years of service.
Photo by Jonathan Chilton-Towle.
The Dunedin City Council's senior animal control officer
Jim Pryde has retired after 38 years.
Mr Pryde started with the council in July 1976 as a hydatid
He was responsible for testing and treating dogs for
hydatids, a tapeworm that could infect stock and humans,
causing cysts and even death if left untreated.
Dogs were treated every six weeks with a pill, either with an
applicator or in a treat, to break the hydatids life cycle.
One of Mr Pryde's colleagues was infected with the hydatid
cysts and the operation to have them removed was filmed for
By the mid-1990s, the hydatid strain capable of infecting
humans had been eradicated, so the Government stopped funding
the control programme.
Like other hydatid control officers, Mr Pryde became an
animal control officer charged with upholding the new Dog
Most of the job was educating dog owners on care and control
of their dogs, he said.
''It's a career that I've certainly enjoyed. I've met a lot
of good people involved with dogs. Most dog owners are very
good but it's a bit of a disappointment that the minority of
bad owners can spoil it for others,'' Mr Pryde said.
Potential dog owners had a responsibility to the dog that
could last 10 to 15 years. They needed to choose a dog of a
type and size suitable for their family.
They also had to make sure the dog was not a safety risk or a
nuisance - and to comply with the ownership rules.
Most of the time, animal control officers responded to
complaints, including aggressive behaviour, barking, or
owners not picking up droppings. Usually, it was a case of
getting the owner to understand how to control the animal
Mr Pryde had to deal with escaped stock, accidents involving
animals, and dog attacks. He did not believe recent years had
seen an increase in dog attacks.
Attacks that did happen were given a lot of media attention.
Mr Pryde recalled a recent incident where a young girl
playing in a cul-de-sac was attacked by a dog, which grabbed
The girl had taken part in a dog-safety lesson at her school
and knew to curl into a foetal position and protect her head.
This allowed her to avoid serious injury.
Attacks that occurred in family environments could often be
avoided with proper education and common sense, such as
knowing to feed the dog away from family and especially young
Mr Pryde said animal control in Dunedin had been a team
Now he had more time on his hands, Mr Pryde planned to
travel, and spend more time with family out of town - and on
the golf course.