Council brings forward app on Dog Safety
From Auckland Council:
New dog safety app helps keep kids safe
Auckland Council is moving forward this week with the roll out of a world-first dog safety smartphone app designed to help keep children safe around dogs.
This is a global app developed in Auckland for Mars Petcare by Colenso BBDO and Auckland will be the first city to roll it out in schools, using a suite of ipads donated by educational IT supplier Cyclone.
“Council receives 150-200 callouts a month relating to dog nuisance, including 17 bites on children over the last nine months,” says Community Development and Safety Committee Chair,Councillor Cathy Casey.
The council’s animal management team has been working for some time with MARS Petcare, which owns and distributes PEDIGREE® in New Zealand, to help them develop an interactive dog safety app aimed at primary school aged children, who form the largest at-risk age group in Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) national dog bite statistics.
“The PEDIGREE® app, called ‘A Dog’s Story’, is ideal for engaging young children and teaching them safe behaviour around dogs. From this week our animal management officers and training dogs will visit schools, teach children how to use the app, take them through the lessons and encourage them to practice their skills on our friendly dogs. Our dogs are very experienced with children and working with live dogs raises children’s confidence,” she says.
Children are given a fridge magnet to take home to encourage their parents to download the app at home.
“We don’t expect all primary school children to have a smartphone or tablet of their own, but we know 85-90 percent of households will have one, so we’re hoping parents will play the interactive game with their children and with other children in the home,” says Animal Management Manager, Geoff Keber.
“Our aim is to help keep dogs a positive part of the life of Aucklanders, and helping children to keep themselves safe is a critical element of that,” he says.
“Partnerships like this one with Mars Petcare and PEDIGREE® mean we can deliver high-quality educational materials that are relevant to young audiences without any cost to ratepayers,” says Councillor Casey.
Mars Petcare reports high interest in the app from other countries where dogs are an important part of urban life. The ‘A Dog’s Story’ app is available now as a free download from the App Store and Google Play. There are no in-app purchases.
Schools can book a dog safety education session on the Auckland Council website http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/licencesregulations/dogsandanimals/dogsafety/Pages/bookadogsafetyeducation.aspx