Worrying increase in dog attacks on people as Auckland's canine population booms

Newshub can reveal a worrying increase in the number of dog attacks on people in our largest region, as Auckland's canine population continues to boom.

It's partly behind a massive registration and vaccination drive in Ōtāhuhu this morning, where demand was so huge supplies eventually ran out.

Pampered pooch or butch bulldog, they were all on show in Auckland's south in a dogged effort to get on top of the region's canine boom.

"It's about being not judgmental, so we're not here to go, 'Oh you're a terrible dog owner, why haven't you done this?' Life happens to the best of us and sometimes we need a hand up," said Chained Dog Rehabilitation and Rehoming trustee and founder Amanda Fraser-Jones.

Talk about who let the dogs out - hundreds of pooches, all shapes, all sizes, pulling up for free vaccination, micro-chipping and registration.

The charity Chained Dog covered the cost today, getting through about 170 animals before supply simply ran dry.

If you needed any evidence as to how much demand there is from dog owners, there was a queue and it stretched all the way down the road.

For Fraser-Jones it's all about education.

"Rather than being reactive all the time, we thought we'd be more proactive and actually work in the communities," she told Newshub.

Because it comes at a time when dog attacks on people in Auckland are at an all-time high - in the 2018-2019 financial year there were 716 but they've risen 44 percent to 1032 this year.

On Friday, a police officer was attacked and injured while responding to a job in Papatoetoe.

Kāinga Ora allows dogs at its properties but there have been safety issues so it wants to see more free microchipping and registration events.

"We're looking to keep moving it across south Auckland because it is one of the number one safety concerns in our communities," said Kāinga Ora housing support and wellbeing manager Suzy Mitchell.

Auckland Council told Newshub nearly every dog to come through today was, until now, unregistered.

Attacks aside, it's got another problem - Auckland's dog population has swelled from 125,000 to a tad under 133,000 in five years.

"For the last year or so our shelters, all three of them, have been running at full capacity. And these are dogs that they're not registered, they're not micro-chipped, they're not de-sexed, they've been out roaming [and] no one's looking for them," said Auckland Council animal management officer Kelsey Purcell.

So it was a dog's day out, driven by a growing need to keep tabs on a growing canine count.