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If dog adoption numbers continue to drop in the city, Dog Rescue Dunedin says it might need to switch its focus.
Chairwoman of the charitable trust Karren O'Neill said the organisation was watching to see if the decrease continued - "we'd absolutely like to do ourselves out of a job''.
If that happened, it was likely the trust would change its emphasis to its desexing programme.
"It would be nice to be at the top of the cliff, rather than the ambulance at the bottom.''
The trust had adopted out five dogs so far this year, compared with 22 for the corresponding period last year.
Figures from the Dunedin City Council show the number of dogs impounded has dropped this year from the same time last year, but council senior animal services officer Peter Hanlin said he did not have an explanation why the numbers were down.
It was, however, "a good sign, really''.
When dogs are impounded, owners have seven days to reclaim them. Unclaimed dogs can be offered for adoption directly from the pound. The trust rescues those who do not find a home this way, fostering them until they find their "forever'' homes.
Ms O'Neill said it appeared the council was doing more to get dogs returned to their owners.
The number of dogs adopted through Dog Rescue had dropped in the four and a-half years since it had been operating. In the first year about 100 were adopted, but last year the number was between 60 and 70.
Strong Facebook coverage of impounded dogs meant more people claimed their dogs.
Dog Rescue's policy is that any dog it puts up for adoption is desexed.
With costs for desexing ranging from around $150 to $450, depending on the gender and size of the dog, the expense was one of the reasons people did not have their dogs desexed.
According to information on the Dunedin City Council website, most neutered male dogs are less likely to wander, are less aggressive and "don't feel the need to urine-mark their territories''. Desexing bitches prevents unwanted pregnancies.