Our 2019/20 Animal Control fees and charges were approved at a council meeting on Tuesday 4 June. Since that meeting we've received a number of questions from dog owners. We hope we've answered them here.
We received several questions from dog owners after we sent out our annual dog registration renewal notices at the beginning of June. We’ve answered as many as we can here. If you have additional questions – or would like us to clarify something further – please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll get back to you ASAP – and also add your question below.
It’s a requirement under the Dog Control Act (1996).
The Act covers various aspects of dog ownership and dog control. These include:
It’s a big obligation for councils. Have a look at the Act – a light read of 88 pages – and you’ll see the range of work we’re required to do.
The costs of our Animal Control service are detailed in our Annual Plan.
In 2018 we received 3609 dog-related service requests from our residents - nearly 70 a week. These covered everything from barking dogs to roaming dogs to dog attacks.
Regrettably, a lot of our work – and this is a requirement of Council under the Act – is dealing with ‘dangerous’ or ‘menacing’ dogs. We collect lost or roaming dogs, take them to our shelter aka the Pound, re-home them where we can. We investigate dog attacks on people and other animals and prepare files of serious dog attacks for Council hearings and Court prosecutions.
But we’d much prefer not to be the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. Most of our staff at Animal Control are dog owners: we’re certainly all dog lovers. We’re very keen to promote a culture of responsible dog ownership in Napier. That’s why we put a lot of emphasis on education programmes, especially schools and kindergarten visits (from Feb 2019 to June 2019, our staff delivered education programmes to 1124 students in Napier). This work is to teach our children how to be safe around dogs, but also how to be better, gentler dog owners themselves when the time comes.
A couple more things. We look after two dog agility tracks – Park Island and in Taradale – and a dog shower at Park Island so you can polish your pooch after a fun day out. And we maintain 12 dog poo-bag dispensers around the city.
If we find your dog roaming and that dog is registered, our team will return her to you (free of charge on the first occasion). We may need to keep her at the shelter until we reach you but we'll take good care of her, ensuring she's warm, well fed and receives any veterinary care she might need.
When we bring her back to you, we'll see if there's anything that can be done to make sure she doesn’t escape again. We know how upsetting it can be to be separated from your dog. But if the worst happens, we strongly recommend you microchip your dog (and we can do this for you at a discounted rate). We also provide a discount for neutering/speying (de-sexing) your dog. Please contact us for details.
We offer an incentive for responsible dog owners via a reduced registration fee if they become an official Responsible Dog Owner. The deadline to apply for this discount was Sunday 31 May.
The Responsible Dog Owner discount - formerly known as the Licensed Dog Owner discount - is available throughout the year, so you don’t need to wait until the last minute.
It’s well worth the money. In 2019-20, Responsible Dog Owners will pay $74 a year, a $36 annual saving on the full registration cost. We've also reduced the one-off application fee from $50 to $25.
Our standard registration fee in 2011/12 was $90 a year. We held it at that level for seven years, then increased it slightly to $96 in 2018/19. It has increased again to $110 this year.
While increases in successive years attract scrutiny, it is in fact no more than a 2% CPI adjustment year-on-year from 2011. In hindsight, we possibly held the price down longer than we should have – we’d been keeping fees below the cost of the service for some time.
It is worth noting that our fees are no more than other similar-sized councils around the country.
NCC ratified the fees and charges at a council meeting on Tuesday 4 June. While we’re not required to specifically consult on changes to fees and charges, we did publish a copy of the proposed fees and charges as part of the Annual Plan consultation process on our Say it, Napier! consultation website.
Many reasons, not least the fact cats are manifestly superior (well, at least they think so).
Jokes aside, there is currently no law for cats as there is for dogs under the Dog Control Act (1996). We’re legally responsible to administer the Act.
You can have up to two. If you want to have more, you’ll need to apply for a Multiple Dog Property Licence.
There's a good reason - it allows us to get in touch with our dog owners far more quickly than if we just rely on snail mail (which can take several days). Speed is of the essence at times of emergency. Think back to the cyanobacteria outbreak at Anderson Park earlier this year. Cyanobacteria - or blue-green algae - can be fatal to dogs and we had to act swiftly. We had signs up around the Anderson Park waterways immediately, posted a warning and regular updates on the Council's Facebook page - and we were also able to reach some thousands of dog owners by email. The city's response was fantastic and no dogs were affected.
The more connected we are to our dog owning community, the faster and more effective we can be when there's a crisis or emergency.
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