Federated Farmers will be asking councils in Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa to lower their farm dog registration fees this year during Long Term Plan consultation.
Farm dogs are low demand users of local authority dog control services, creating significantly lower relative costs for councils.
Councils vary with what they charge for rural dogs, although Federated Farmers guesses the level of work that rural dogs generate for councils is probably the same across districts, and pretty minimal compared to urban dogs.
Farm dogs are part of the family, and a valuable asset to the farm business. Farmers spend many hours training their canines as a source of pride, and bad behaviour like being aggressive to animals or people is dealt with quickly.
Farm dogs are contained in their kennels or chained up at night. Large farms mean dogs are contained on the property, they do not roam the streets and barking rarely annoys the neighbours.
If a dog does stray, neighbours are quick to recognise the dog and call the owner.
For a single rural dog, Masterton District Council charges $80, which is the same as an urban dog. Additional rural dogs in Masterton are charged at $20 to register. A team of 10 dogs in Masterton would cost $260.
Carterton rural dogs cost $60 each for the first and second dog, which is the same cost as for a desexed urban dog. With Carterton charging $32 for each subsequent dog, a team of 10 would cost $376.
South Wairarapa has a flat fee for teams of up to 10 rural dogs, being $210. Otherwise an individual rural dog would cost $42 desexed and $64 entire.
Tararua rural dogs are charged at $32, meaning a team of 10 costs $320.
In Central Hawke's Bay, a rural dog is charged at $47, with no discount for subsequent dogs making a team of 10 cost $470.
Hastings District Council charges $48 per rural dog, meaning that a team of 10 in Hastings costs a whopping $480.
With the lower east coast of the North Island characterised by large sheep and beef farms where teams of dogs will be common, Federated Farmers wants councils to introduce a discounted flat fee for rural dog teams.
Rhea Dasent is a Federated Farmers Senior Policy Adviser. Views expressed here are the writer's opinion and not the newspaper's. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org