Pooch penalties in Horowhenua are under the microscope with concerns unregistered and dangerous dogs are pushing up fees for those that were castrated and kept on a tight leash.
Horowhenua District Councillor Christine Mitchell has forced a last-minute review of a dog fee model she said unfairly penalised owners of well-behaved dogs.
HDC met last week to adopt the new fee structure that included small fee increases to all classes of canine to offset operational costs, expected to top $600,000 this year.
But Mitchell refused to accept the new fees and said it placed an unfair burden on compliant dog owners as 206 of the 338 dogs impounded last year were unregistered.
"Everyone I talk to with dogs wonders why fees are going up for dog owners who are responsible, basically to fund dog owners that are not," she said.
"There are dogs out there, or people out there with dogs that are not nice and dogs that are causing major problems."
Mitchell said there were vicious dog attacks by unregistered and dangerous dogs that could have been prevented and feared for community safety. She suggested an anonymous "dob in your neighbour" campaign.
"We need to take a proactive stance to go out there and find these dogs ... then fees could come down to a more realistic level," she said.
"People are genuinely frightened to dob in these dogs. It needs to be anonymous."
Mitchell also advocated for more castration "as there is no need to have an entire dog, unless you are a breeder".
Uncastrated dogs were full of testosterone and more prone to wander and be aggressive, she said.
Under the current model kennel dogs, working dogs, farm dogs, greyhounds and all urban dogs were set for an increase, while dogs classed as dangerous, sexed or de-sexed, were in for a fee reduction.
That was because new legislation capped the fee for a dangerous dog at no more than 50 per cent of that for a normal dog equivalent.
However, Mitchell did support a new fee introduced to penalise dogs that kept falling foul of the law, with recidivist offenders facing increased impoundment fees.
The first offence would incur an $800 fee, while that would increase to $130 for a second offence and $180 for a third offence. The same increase would apply for hoofed animals on the loose. Dogs that were not microchipped would be, at a cost of $25.
HDC compliance manager Vai Miller told council once a dog was impounded it needed to be registered and microchipped before release, and added with impoundment fees "it is usually an expensive ordeal".
The proposed registration fee for an uncastrated dog in Horowhenua was $120 compared with a de-sexed fee of $70, while rural dogs ($70), farm and working dogs ($65) and kennel $67), selected status ($67) and greyhounds ($67) were all marked for an increase.
Comparisons in fees were made with other regions which showed Kapiti as an expensive place to own an entire dog with a fee set at $182, compared with Manawatū ($103), Rangitikei ($127) and Palmerston North ($135).
A dog surrender fee would increase by $5 to $45. It remained free to have a disability dog in Horowhenua.