The Whakatāne District Council has agreed to raise the annual registration fee for ‘entire’ dogs by $15 per dog for the 2017/18 year, to cover an expected increase in the cost of dog control activities.
Projected expenditure for dog control across the District is expected to total close to $655,000 for the year, with much the increase focused on delivering enhanced services across the District. This includes increased animal control cover delivered by the Council’s Whakatāne-based staff; and an animal control partnership agreement with Ngāti Manawa, which is already delivering a greatly improved service in Murupara and surrounds, with fewer roaming dogs and an increase in impoundments and registrations noted since the partnership took effect in January.
To comply with the Council’s funding policy, 70 percent of the expected annual cost must be derived from registration, impounding and other dog-related fees. The revenue expected to be generated from registration fees and fines is likely to fall $42,000 short of the required contribution and as much of the animal control effort goes into dealing with aggression and roaming issues often relating to entire dogs, staff recommended that the additional cost should not be recovered from the fees for de-sexed dogs.
Following discussion at an extraordinary Council meeting earlier this month, most Council elected members agreed that the fee for registering entire dogs should increase from $60 to $75 a year (providing the fee is paid by 31 July).
The discounted annual registration fees for payments received by 31 July are: de-sexed dog – $50; entire dog – $75; dogs owned by incorporated hunt clubs – $50/dog. All of those fees increase by 50 percent if they are paid after 31 July. The annual fee for certified companion dogs/hearing dogs/guide dogs is $5.
Several committee members expressed concern that the fee change unfairly penalised the rural community, where many ‘working dogs’ were retained as entires for breeding purposes. However, most felt any potential change to the fee structure should be considered as part of a wider review, in conjunction with next year’s 2018-28 Long Term Plan process.
In his report to the Committee, Council Community Regulation Manager Graeme Lewer also highlighted the availability of Government funding for the free de-sexing of menacing dog breeds. Information on that initiative is available on the Council website (whakatane.govt.nz).