The number of unregistered dogs in New Plymouth District has fallen sharply in recent months.
Council staff have been contacting owners of dogs that haven’t been re-registered for the 2009/10 year to see if their pets have passed away or changed ownership, of if their registration just hasn’t been paid.
As a result, the number of unregistered dogs has dropped by more than two-thirds – down from 816 registrations outstanding in August last year to just 239 now.
“We’re actively chasing up the owners of those 239 dogs so that we know exactly how many dogs are in the district and who their owners are,” says Manager Customer and Regulatory Services Simon Pickford.
“Most of the dog-related problems we have in the district come from unregistered dogs.
“If we can step in early – encouraging this minority of dog owners to be responsible for their pets, starting with registration – then we might see a reduction in the number of dog-related incidents in coming years.”
There are about 9,700 dogs in New Plymouth District.
All dogs must be registered, and all except working dogs are required to be microchipped, when they are three months old.
Anyone who has not paid this year’s registration can do so at the Civic Centre or a library and service centre in Inglewood, Waitara or Bell Block where they will be charged the registration fee plus a 25 per cent penalty fee – but will avoid the $300 infringement for having an unregistered dog or having their dog seized.
“The $300 infringement will be served only if a Council staff member visits the owner and finds an unregistered dog – along with the registration fee and the penalty,” says Mr Pickford.
“It’s definitely worthwhile for people to register their dogs off their own bat.”
Any dog registered for the first time (at three months old) will pay only for the number of months outstanding in the registration year, with no penalty fee applied.
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