Lost dogs find their way home in Christchurch

With a little bit of help, thousands of lost dogs in Christchurch found their way home this year - and none had to be put down.

The Christchurch City Council animal management team’s proactive policy of reuniting dogs with their owners meant only 565 of the 2246 dogs lost in the city this year stepped paw inside the animal shelter.

And of the 565, all were either adopted or eventually ended up back home - and none were euthanised.

Animal services manager Lionel Bridger and his team are incredibly proud of the result.

"It’s like a badge of honour," he said.

"Our team work hard with every single dog that comes through our door to make sure they either get back to their owners, or go to a loving, new home that’s the right fit for them."

All dogs that can’t be returned home immediately because they don’t have a microchip or their owners cannot be contacted, head to the animal shelter in Bromley.

When they arrive, they’re checked to ensure there are no injuries that require vet treatment.

"If they do, we take care of that and the dog is scanned again to double check that it’s not chipped," Bridger said.

Dogs at the shelter get their own kennel and bedding and eat high-quality food.

They are fed twice a day and exercise every day in a large paddock.

"We have a few repeat visitors that I think like to come to the shelter just for the food," Bridger said.

He said staff try every means possible to locate their owners.

"We call, we put letters in their letterboxes, use social media.

"But, unfortunately, not all dog owners come forward."

If an owner cannot be found, the dogs are assessed and if their temperate is suitable, they’re put up for adoption.

"Dogs that have temperamental issues are held until they can be rehomed to Dog Watch or Bull Breed rescue where these two organisations do a lot of work with the dogs until they can be rehomed to a new family," Bridger said.

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