The Clutha District Council is urging the district’s dog owners to register their animals, after only two›thirds met the fee› paying deadline of August 1 this year.
Although that figure had improved at the time of writing to 84% registered, it still left more than 1100 dogs with fees due as of Monday.
Council planning and regulatory group manager Ian McCabe said the numbers were about in line with last year’s late payers.
Many continued to attract a late fee for registering their animals despite the council giving a week’s grace period this year, to August 8
‘‘There is a slight increase in the number of known dogs on our database [this year],’’ he said.
‘‘This year we have also been more active in making people aware of dog registrations via either advertising in papers, radio announcements and public websites such as Facebook.’’
Besides being a legal requirement, registering a dog was a useful safeguard for owners.
‘‘It is important to register a dog every year, first and foremost because it is a requirement of the Dog Control Act 1996, but also because it is part of being a responsible dog owner.
‘‘If the dog is lost, he or she can be quickly and easily identified using a registration tag,’’ Mr McCabe said.
Under the Act, all dogs in New Zealand must be registered initially by three months of age, then annually from June 30.
Council fees increased in 2019, but had remained stable since, Mr McCabe said.
They ranged from $40 for a rural working dog to $70 for urban dogs, working or non› working.
Responsible dog owners could attain accreditation providing them with a $20 discount, to $50 for each dog.
Late registration penalties meant charges increased to $60 for rural working dogs and $105 for urban dogs.
Rural dog owner Victoria De Filippi, walking retired huntaway Sage and pet labrador/ collie cross Jed on the Clutha River bank in Balclutha on Monday, said she understood the necessity of dog fees. ‘‘I live rurally with my partner, a shepherd, and I’m a postie myself, so I spend a lot of time with dogs. ‘‘You want to know they’ve been registered and checked out when you meet them at the gate.’’ Her partner had eight working dogs, she said. ‘‘We’ve always paid as soon as we receive the bills, to be honest. ‘‘We don’t want to be picking up hundreds of dollars of late fees.’’ She did not understand why so many locals failed to pay by the August 1 deadline. ‘‘I guess it’s just laziness.’’ Balclutha dog owner Sue McNutt said she also tried to register Jack Russell/fox terrier Mouse on time. ‘‘Everyone receives notice in good time, and the rates seem fair to me, going towards animal control and so on.’’ She said she did not understand why anyone would delay until they picked up a late fee. ‘‘I suppose some just slip through the net due to forgetfulness.’’