A therapy dog who spends his time supporting the sick and elderly has won free registration for the rest of his life while living in Waipā.
Bandit, a 7-year-old Maltese Shih Tzu cross, and his owner Tania Wheeler are the winners of Waipā District Council's top prize thanks to Bandit being registered before June 30.
All dogs registered before the cut-off date were automatically entered into the draw for the prize, worth more than $1000 for a young healthy pup.
Tania, a Te Awamutu local, said she was thrilled to hear of the win.
"Bandit is a very calm dog who has, for the past three years, supported sick children, the elderly and those living in palliative care.
"Kids love him and it is really gratifying to see the look on people's faces when they see Bandit coming. Many older people he visits can't have animals of their own, so spending time with him is a real treat."
Since registrations opened in May, more than 6100, or 70 per cent of dogs across the district, have been registered. Around 2500 registrations are still outstanding.
Council compliance manager Karl Tutty said the number of registrations had increased this year compared to the same time last year.
"We've seen a boost in the number of people registering their dogs early, which is fantastic. Registration is a legal requirement and needs to be done each year before the end of June."
Karl urged owners who hadn't yet registered their dogs to do so as soon as possible.
"We have already started the 2020/2021 year so it is important owners make sure their dogs are registered. If they don't do so before July 31, they will see a 50 per cent penalty added to their original fee."
Registration fees fund council's 24-hour dog control service, contribute towards administration costs and maintain pound facilities and exercise areas.
Registrations can be made online at www.waipadc.govt.nz/dogs or by popping into a council office.