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City dog owners wonder where their money goes

Aug 16th, 2012 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

LYALL BAY: A Wellington dog owner uses Lyall Bay’s off-leash area.

WELLINGTON dog owners are wondering where their money goes from one of the highest registration fees in the country.

The registration fee rose this year to $165 for an un-neutered dog, a cost that has gradually been going up for the past few years.

Aucklanders pay $107 to register an un-neutered dog, in Christchurch $87 and in the Lower Hutt $98.

Wellington City Councillor Stephanie Cook says there is a variation with every council because each council’s dog control is different and they are not comparable.

While Wellington fees continue to rise, many dog owners in the capital do not feel they are seeing value for their money.

“I knew the cost had gone up recently, but I did not know it was going to be that much,” says Carina Munro, left, who has a five month old puppy.

Another dog owner is yet to pay his puppy’s registration, due in July, because he says the prices are too high and the process of payment is complicated.

“The online information is minimal and does not allow online payment,” says Jamie Scrafton, whose late registration will incur a 50% higher fee, bringing it to $240.

According to the Wellington city council website, the fees are used for dog control and law enforcement, campaigns and education, canine promotional materials and administering a dog shelter.

Council spokesman Grahame Armstrong says the revenue from dog registration fees only cover 75% of the cost of dog control, while the other quarter is met by rates.

He says the estimated income from dog registration in this financial year is $959,000.

However Allan Probert, a vet with clinics in Miramar, Khandallah and the Hutt, disagrees with that summary and agrees with dog owners that the cost of registration is too high.

“Dog owners, I believe, don’t get great value for money,” he says.

“I did a little project and found that the income from dog registration was about $1.1 million [in Wellington city],” says Mr Probert.

He says the cost of dog control and dog policy should be around $650,000 and wonders where the rest goes.

Dog owners want to know exactly what their money is being spent on.

“Why should I have to pay an annual fee when realistically all my dog needs is love, care and attention from myself,” says Mr Scrafton, who has been put off owning another dog.

“My dog does not damage the surrounds and as long as I clean up after toilet time and place into a safe package for disposal I really can’t understand this registration charge.”

Mr Probert thinks it is time for dog owners to demand accountability for their money.

OFF-LEASH: Lyall Bay is one of eight Wellington beaches where dogs can exercise off leash at all times.



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