Horowhenua pet owners are leaving their dogs on death row rather than paying pound fees.
More than half of the dogs in Horowhenua District Council's animal pound are not claimed by owners.
The council said the number of dogs picked up and impounded was 21 per cent higher than the previous year.
Regulatory services manager Mike Lepper could not provide a reason for the increase.
Mr Lepper said it was unfortunate so many dogs were unclaimed but the pound did everything it could to re-house the animals.
"We did re-house 59 dogs, which was great news for them."
Re-housing dogs was a joint effort among the pound, the SPCA, Animal Rescue and dog clubs, Mr Lepper said. People would also visit the pound looking for a potential pet.
He said not all dogs were suitable for re-housing, so it was inevitable some would be killed.
It was sad so many dogs were unclaimed, Mr Lepper said.
Costs can mount up when dogs are impounded, with fees starting at $60, plus an additional $89 if picked up after hours.
Then there are registration fees if the dog is unregistered, microchip fees and feed costs.
The dogs are held for seven days before heading to the vet to be euthanased.
Pound staff told Fairfax NZ that sometimes they held animals a little longer in case people were on holiday.
At June 30, 6143 dogs were registered in Horowhenua.
Mr Lepper said 5100 dogs had been registered for the 2012-13 year. He said 120 more infringement notices for non-registration were issued in the 2012-13 year than in the previous year.
- Manawatu Standard
Is it worth it to fund a war museum in the capital for $18m?