A Letter to Patrick Doughterty :
The KCDC Annual Report on Dog Control Policy and Practices 2014-15 prepared by Environmental Standards Manager Nick Fowler was received by the Regulatory Management Committee meeting on 26 November 2015. In the report the lone prosecution statistic was the dog Beau which KCDC unfairly killed.
A year ago at the time of the killing of Beau, KCDC issued a document titled “Julie Snodgrass Vs. Kāpiti Coast District Council – the facts”. As a request under the LGOIMA has established, the document was approved and signed off by managers – Sharon Foss, Acting Group Manager Regulatory Services; Tamsin Evans, Group Manager Community Services; Anna Kenna, Acting Communications Manager; Council’s Legal Counsel, Tim Power and Pat Dougherty, Chief Executive.
Setting aside evidential shortcomings in the legal hearings, the following can be said about the KCDC fact sheet:
The use of the word “attack” was indiscriminate. The public at large would have had little difficulty in understanding what “attack” in S.57 of the Dog Control Act 1996 is intended to mean. As the word “attack” was not defined in the Act the presumption when the Act was passed was that the public did know what it meant (notwithstanding the stretching of the meaning and tenuous reliance of Hastings J on Tekotia v Manukau City Council and Simpson v Kawerau District Council since). Two dogs ripping each other apart or similarly attacking other animals and humans comes readily to mind and few would condone such behaviour. The KCDC document indiscriminately hijacked this specific meaning to include a curious dog wanting to be friendly and aligned Beau with the Otaki attacking dog.
The fact sheet also referred to two complaints about previous “attacks” by Beau including one in the same park two months earlier. Hastings J did not give any credence to one of these. Clifford J in the High Court about the second said “Mr Wolff did not have first-hand knowledge of the events of 1 September 2012 and accordingly the evidence remained hearsay. Judge Hastings should not have relied upon that evidence as proof that the 1 September incident occurred as described.” Yet KCDC repeated the biased and misleading information after knowing what the Judges had said, to promote their point of view.
The word to describe what was written in the “fact” sheet was “propaganda” not “facts”.
Shortly afterwards, the killing of Beau was brought forward, signed off by Foss as Acting Group Manager of Regulatory Services, on the basis of concerns about safety of Pound staff following a spurious Facebook comment. People who had visited the Pound, with the isolated single access, security gates and cameras well appreciated what a ridiculous expressed concern this was. Seemingly it was just one more bit of propaganda approved in the same manner the “fact” sheet was.
There was one Manager who knew far more about the dog Beau and the safety and security of the Pound and the staff working there because it was part of his responsibility, yet seemingly he had no input to the propaganda. He knew that the people who visited Beau were not at risk and was comfortable leaving them to play with Beau for the very limited time allowed (which was likely regulated by order of the same propaganda group).
Could Pat Dougherty please explain why it was necessary to have a propaganda sheet authored by someone in the Communications team instead of a fact sheet written by the Environmental Standards Manager as the recent Annual Report on Dog Control Policy and Practices 2014-15 has been.
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