SPCA hounds Auckland Council
New Zealand's largest animal welfare group is the latest organisation hounding the council to change proposed hikes in dog registration fees.
Auckland Council plans to increase standard dog registrations from $104 to $160 this year and scrap discounts previously offered to owners who took a responsible dog owner test.
The plans are part of the council's long term plan, which closes to public submissions at 4pm today.
Hearings for the Long Term Plan are set to run from April 10 to May 7.
The SPCA's campaign, called Sit and Stay: Resist the Dog Registration Hike, claims it's unfair good dog owners will bear the costs of managing the city's canines.
Paw Justice's petition has already attracted more than 11,000 signatures.
A Facebook group, Stand Up Auckland Dog Owners, has attracted more than 3000 members.
Paw Justice says a hike in charges may mean families can't afford to own a dog, more animals will be left unregistered and impounded dogs are less likely to be picked up by their owners.
Increases are being put in place to counter an alleged $5 million deficit caused by dog management in Auckland.
This includes operating animal care services, street patrols, managing dangerous dogs, responding to dog attacks and dog education programmes in schools.
Auckland councillor Cathy Casey has described the increases as revenue gathering and believes it will lead to more abandoned dogs.
"Last year the council killed 3300 impounded dogs by lethal injection. That is a shocking figure."
Earlier this month, Mayor Len Brown told a public meeting in Papakura the plan to increase fees is only a proposal at this stage.
"Under the proposal, costs are split 80/20 between registered dog owners and ratepayers. I personally think we need to review the balance and how we reward owners whose dogs are kept under control."
PROPOSED LICENCE FEE INCREASES:
The current standard licence fee for a dog is $104 if purchased by August 1. After that date it's $128.
The plan proposes to raise the early purchase cost to $160 from July this year, and $210 for payments after August 1.
Currently a desexed dog licence for an owner who has taken the responsible dog owner test costs $47 and $70 if purchased after August 1. Auckland Council is proposing to increase these rates to $120 and $170.
The cost for a non desexed dog for an owner with a dog owner licence is currently $53 if bought before August 1 and $77 if purchased afterwards.
This will go up to $160 and $210.
For a non-licensed owner with a desexed dog, the charges are $75 if purchased before August 1 or $98 if bought after.
These prices go up to $120 and $170. Fees for a dog's first visit to a pound go up from $35 for the first occurrence to $60.
Repeat visits which were charged at the same rate will incur a $100 charge for a second visit and $150 for a third.