A new approach to connecting hopeful pound dogs with loving new owners has won the Taupō District Council animal control team a top award for engagement.
The team, consisting of head pound keeper, Taylor Hori, with support from assistant pound keepers and council animal compliance officers, not only looks after the Taupō Pound & Animal Shelter, but also works hard to reunite lost dogs with their owners, and to help unwanted or surrendered dogs find caring new homes.
At last Friday’s Local Government New Zealand awards evening, the Taupō District dog pound and animal shelter won a highly-commended nod from the judges in the Super Engaged category, which recognises creative ways to capture the community’s attention and allow people to connect and be heard.
The team’s flagship initiative is its Taupō District Adopt a Dog Facebook page, with its sweet descriptions of each dog and its personality, along with stunning photographs. The page is highly engaging, with close to 7,000 followers, and even non-dog lovers enjoying the stories of each canine awaiting a home. As a result, potential owners from around New Zealand have been in touch with adoption queries. In addition, the animal compliance team makes great use of the networks it has to promote its dog adoption service including through connections with animal rescues.
The team’s adoption statistics are proof the approach works. In 2019, only 31 dogs were rehomed from the shelter. By the 2022/23 year, this had increased to 250 dogs that had found forever homes.
In addition, the compliance officers work hard to build good relationships in the community and focus on dealing with dog owners in a positive way, offering advice and information on animal control and promoting the benefits of doing the right thing, for both owner and dog.
Council compliance and regulatory manager, Ross McDonald says he’s incredibly proud of the animal control team, especially because it’s unusual for a regulation activity like animal control to be singled out in the Super Engaged category.
“The team is amazing and we get so much feedback about their genuine care for the dogs and how well looked after they are,” he said.
“They really do go the extra mile to connect dogs with the right owners and make sure they are set up for a successful adoption.
“The real winners in this scenario are not the team or the council, but the dogs they work so hard to find homes for.”