Dog owners urged to pay up

Some invoices for dog owners seem to have got lost in the post.

About 800 Palmerston North dog owners who have not paid their registration fees are being paid visits by the animal control officers asking them to pay up.

They face penalties of up to $61 on top of their basic fees and possible loss of the discount that applies to preferred owners.

That is unless, like Ashhurst bichon-cross owner Maria Vertelman, they can show they did not get their invoice.

Principal environmental health officer Pita Kinaston said 7000 letters had been posted out at the beginning of July reminding dog owners the fees were due at the end of the month.

But council staff were investigating why a cluster of letters might not have reached their destinations in the Aokautere and Ashhurst areas.

Mrs Vertelman, who pays the lesser registration fee charged to preferred owners, said she had been puzzled when she did not get an invoice at the same time as other owners she knew.

She thought they might come out at different times of the year, depending on when the anniversary of the first registration fell.

But she was wrong.

She received a visit, and was told she would have to pay an extra $35, and would have to go through the process of applying for preferred owner status all over again.

Mrs Vertelman said after she had explained her invoice had not arrived, the issue was amicably resolved and the penalties waived.

Mr Kinaston said the council was not obliged to send out the invoices, as dog owners should know fees were due in July every year., but it sent the letters as a courtesy.

He accepted there seemed to have been a delivery problem  in some areas this year.

Any dog owners that have not received their registration invoice should make contact, and we will discuss it with them.’’

Manawatu Standard