Dog registration fees to increase by $5 a year

By John Maslin

Wanganui dog owners will be paying a minimal increase to register their dogs in the 2013-14 year.

The Wanganui District Council signed off a $5 rise in registration fees for both non-working and working dogs across the district which means the full fee for non-working dogs increases to $110 and for working dogs it goes to $40.

The revised policy has retained the rebate scheme for prompt payment ($10), neutered or spayed urban dogs ($25), along with a "good dog" rebate ($20) which applies when there urban dog has not had any justified complaints during the year.

The council's rural community board had looked at the fees list and council endorsed the numbers at its meeting this week.

As at the end of March this year there were 7339 on the council's database and that is higher than last year's record high. Of that number 5542 are registered as urban dogs and 1797 as working dogs.

It is the first increase for rural dogs since 2006 but in a background paper to the council Jo Meiklejohn, team leader parking services and dog control, said that recognised the fact less work was needed in rural areas with dog control.

Ms Meiklejohn said while 11 per cent of officer call-outs were to the rural area more resources were expended when responding to those. But in most cases those rural calls were for unregistered or wandering dogs.

She said there had been a slight drop in the number of working dog registrations in the last year but dog control officers had been "more vigilant" preventing urban dog owners registering their animals as working dogs and saving $70.

Ms Meiklejohn said revenue from registration and impounding fees was expected to bring in $398,000 but that was below operating costs of $430,000

"Increasing the fee for both rural and urban dogs by $5 is expected to generate $33,500 based on the number of owners and the number of dogs per owner," she said.

The pound was built 17 years ago and the council was experiencing higher maintenance costs than budgeted for. Pending changes to the animal welfare code may mean an upgrade at the pound is needed to comply with minimum standards.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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