New Zealand is to install more than 1,500 more portable and indoor dog-friendly hangers, including dog pen holders, at a cost of up to $1.4 million over five years.
The move comes after the Government said it would spend $1 million on dog-safe devices, which will be installed at shelters and other organisations.
The Government has been asked by the Pet Owners Association (POA) to spend up to a million dollars to buy more hangers.
The dog-safety measures, which cost about $1,500 each, will be added to existing dog-rescue shelters and shelters for people who are experiencing issues such as allergies, asthma and behavioural problems.
“We’re committed to making sure that our dog and cats are safe and healthy and we know dogs can make great companions, but the amount of time spent outdoors and the increased stress on dogs makes us think that there are other ways to provide safe environments for them,” Health Minister Rob Stokes said.
He said the Government had been asked to spend about $800,000 on hanger upgrades in recent years, with more than 400 hangers in use around New Zealand.
“It’s about making sure the animals are safe in those places and we have made that investment,” Mr Stokes added.
New Zealand has a total of 8,500 dog parks and shelters, but only about 800 of those are dog-free.
There are no specific dog-related plans to install dog hangers or a similar device in shelters, Mr Stoke said.
He said he was also looking at installing dog-resistant dog beds and dog-proofing hanger windows.
“It seems like it’s been an area of interest in the past and I’m looking at whether we can get that right for New Zealand,” he said.
“There are some things we can do to reduce the amount that dogs spend on exercise, but it seems like there is a lot of concern about the dog and cat environment.”
The Government also said it was also spending $1m on a research project on canine behavioural responses to stress.
Mr Stokes would not disclose the funding, but he said it included funding for animal welfare studies.
About 3,600 people have already signed up to take part in the study, which was launched by the Government in March.
It involves two-way interactions between people and dogs, which involves the dog having a chat with the person before a social interaction.
Mr Stoke is also asking for the public to help design dog-hanger windows, which can be easily opened and closed by the person using them.
“The idea is that the window is the window that we all have, that is our dog, that can see the world, we all want to see the people, we want to go out and have fun and we want that to be our space and we can make it safe for the dog,” Mr Shokes said at a press conference.
But it is not just shelters where people are looking to get dog-preventing gadgets installed.
A number of small businesses are also looking to improve their dog-friendliness.
The owners of one business in Auckland have installed a large dog-pad inside their shop.
It features a screen, a screen protector and a dog leash.
Owner Andrew McKeown said the dog-pads were designed to be easily accessible for dogs to pick up, but had also been designed to give them more space to play.
“This is a safe place for dogs,” Mr McKeon said.
Auckland dog park owner Andrew McVeigh said the owner’s dog used to be a dog-walker and that was the reason they had installed the dog pad.
“That’s where she’d go and walk the dog, and the dog had her back and she would just sit on that pad.
So it’s kind of a dog walker’s pet space,” he explained.
After installing the pad, Mr McVeig said the owners of their dog park were happy with their experience and now they were planning on installing the same pad next door.
“I don’t know how long this pad is going to last, but I think it will last five or six years,” he added.
The Government said about $100,000 of the money would go towards the installation of the pad.