【下载彩神APPapp_下载彩神APPapp官网】New Zealand stresses dog safety

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WELLINGTON, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand Minister of Local Government Nanaia Mahuta on Friday called on dog owners to be vigilant around dogs this summer.

"It's important that dog owners keep a watchful eye over their dogs, especially around children," Mahuta said in a statement.

"Every summer we see our friends and family visit, often with young children. Dog owners have to be aware that while they may know the people they are visiting, their dogs don't," Mahuta said.

Last May, there were more than half a million dogs registered on the National Dogs database, and over the last three years, the number of dog owners has increased by more than 12 percent, she said.

"People have to be extra careful at the beach and in parks and backyards. For many of us, dogs are part of the whanau (family) but as with people, dogs may not appreciate coming into contact with someone they don't know. Sometimes it may be best to leave your dog at home alone," the minister said.

Dog owners must be aware of their responsibilities under the Dog Control Act and make sure their animal is registered, microchipped and that the local council has the owners' up-to-date contact details, she stressed.

"By remaining vigilant around our dogs, we can ensure a safer and more enjoyable summer," Mahuta said.