Unfair dog registration fees

Waikawa Beach is a popular place for owners to walk their dogs, and many who live here or visit regularly own dogs too. How much should we pay in registration fees?

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 [early April 2019] 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.

In 2018 fees ranged from $45 for a puppy to $265 for a dangerous dog.

In last year’s report on dogs by Horowhenua District Council we had no dangerous dogs and 3 menacing dogs in our community. The report doesn’t say how many registered or unregistered dogs there are at Waikawa Beach.

One problem we do have here is wandering dogs, both in the village and in Strathnaver. If you allow your dog to wander, be aware you could end up with your dog being classified as dangerous, according to the Council’s Dog Control Policy 2015 (PDF, 109KB):

A dangerous dog is one which the Council has, on sworn evidence attesting to aggressive behaviour by the dog, reasonable grounds to believe it constitutes a threat to the safety of any person, stock, poultry or domestic animal or protected wildlife …

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