Elderly pet pays price for fee wrangle

JOEL MAXWELL
Last updated 11:21 22/11/2012
Dog
Unhappy: Dog owner Lisa Miller at home in Paraparaumu Beach.

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Kapiti Observer

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A Paraparaumu Beach woman has accused the council of showing no leniency after her aging dog was impounded over a late registration payment.

Lisa Miller said her nearly 15-year-old Kelpie-cross, Holly, was seized from her property on Tuesday by dog control officers.

Ms Miller said she was three days late in paying her registration in August - incurring what she said was a $35 late payment fee, which she had not paid.

"I just think it's really unfair."

Ms Miller said the council could have been lenient and not charged her for paying the amount late, given it was so close to the deadline.

Kapiti Coast District Council said she paid the fee 13 days' late and the late fee had been added to the registration fee.

Ms Miller said she arranged to pay off the overdue amount in $5 weekly instalments - but says she only made one.

As a sickness beneficiary, she said it was "damned hard" to find the extra $5 a week.

"[Holly's] very obedient, very loyal, and they've just come up and seized her, taken her off the property and all I get is a piece of paper saying that she's gone."

Kapiti Coast District Council community facilities group manager Tamsin Evans said the animal control team gave Ms Miller "numerous opportunities" to sort out the matter.

"We have gone out of our way to accommodate her circumstances and assist her to meet her obligations."

Ms Evans said the registration was due August 3, but was not paid till August 16, incurring the late fee.

"Any registration that is not paid by that date incurs a penalty fee which is still classed as registration. As Lisa did not pay on time she incurred this fee, taking Holly's registration to $124."

Ms Evans said while the animal control officer seized Holly he noticed an unregistered puppy inside Ms Evans' home, which was signed over to the SPCA yesterday.

"We appreciate Holly is a relatively old dog and we are taking good care of her [Holly] but having a 15 year old dog doesn't give Lisa any preference to special treatment as we have to be consistent and fair to all dog owners."

Ms Miller has to pay the late fee as well as a $60 seizure fee, and ongoing daily $11 charges for Holly's care, to get the dog out of the pound.

She said she does not know what she will do, and will struggle to pay the amounts - but is considering appealing the decision.

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