Just 3pc of dog fines are paid

By Zaryd Wilson

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OUT of every 100 dog fines issued in Whanganui, fewer than three get paid.

In the past financial year, Whanganui District Council staff handed out 766 fines, but only 22 of them - less than 3 per cent - were paid. The remainder were mostly written off or ended up in court.

However, animal control officers believe they are on the right track. Most of those fines were for unregistered dogs, and more than half of them ended up being written off after owners registered their dogs. A further 40 per cent were lodged with the court.

"We do eventually get the money," council regulatory and customer services manager Bryan Nicholson told councillors this week.

The figures were presented on Tuesday as part of a report on dog control.

The council adopted a tougher dog control policy last year but it was only in place for the last 22 day of the reporting period.

Mr Nicholson said it might take a while to see a new approach reflected in the figures.

"We're doing the hard work now and, hopefully, the result will be that we have more of a compliant community."

Councillor Ray Stevens said writing off fines once dogs were registered was being "too nice".

"If you haven't done your dog on time, then bad luck - you pay the price."

But Mr Nicholson said getting the dogs registered was more important than scaring owners away.

"We want them to register their dogs as a priority so we know where these dogs are - an infringement is an effective way of doing that."

In the year to June 30, there were 6627 dog-related complaints in the district, with barking dogs being most common. There were 374 dog attacks or rushes.

Mr Nicholson said barking dogs were not priority for three staff on a 24/7 roster. Animal control would need more resources to attend all bark calls.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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