Talking business with Anthony Haas

This Problem Must Not Dog Us


Dog with spiked collar

Dogs are not yet problem in Greytown. Yet they so easily could be. Unaccompanied dogs can be seen in Main Street. Yappy, snappy ones are tied up outside shops. The speed with which dogs can overwhelm a town is revealed in the experience across the Tararua ranges, an experience which we would do well to heed.

Mayor Brett Ambler of Kapiti District Council 20 years ago began the first concerted and official campaign against the now near-overwhelming menace of attack dogs masquerading as household pets.

His crusading work in venturing where local politicians still fear to tread has earned him street recognition from the Kapiti District Council which has named Brett Ambler Way after their no-nonsense mayor.

Mr Ambler was the first public official to recognise and then confront the evidence that these aggression-breed animals represented a deliberate threat to the populace and thus his ratepayers.

The late Mr Ambler on foot personally toured his area and witnessed these dogs, and more significantly still, their owners and came to the following conclusion.

The owners of these dogs took a barely-disguised delight, if disguised at all, at the fear that their animals engendered among the general public.

Mr Ambler was the first official who dared to publicly point out that these animals were the four-legged extensions of their owners’ anti-social and threatening ambitions.

Only now and in the past few weeks when the medical profession formally intervened with its statistics on the frequency and effect of dog attacks on children has Mr Ambler been vindicated.

A local body conviction politician Mr Ambler understood the risk to his career of pointing out the more lethal dog danger beyond the one of pavement fouling where the dog lobby had successfully contained the debate. Until that is just a few weeks ago. Is it time to have a conversation with our elected representatives?

The long-serving Mr Ambler lost his seat at the next local body elections. He died soon after.

He will be remembered as that rare politician who seeing a threat to his people and their security said what had to be said – when it needed to be said.


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