Owners dumping dogs to avoid registration fees

LAUREN HAYES
Last updated 05:00 27/06/2012
Mary Bradley
NICOLE GOURLEY/Fairfax NZ
'FED LIES': Southland SPCA manager Mary Bradley wants dog owners to take responsibility so more dogs do not end up in the shelter.

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SPCA staff are asking dog owners to take responsibility as some are dumping their pets to avoid paying registration fees.

Dog licence renewals are not due until August 3 but Southland SPCA volunteers have noticed an increase in the number of dogs being left at the shelter.

Southland SPCA manager Mary Bradley said registration season was always busy for the team.

"It's starting to happen. There's always an influx at this time of year."

She believed three of the dogs delivered last week were there because owners had been unable or unwilling to pay registration fees.

"You get a lot of stories but you know usually what the truth is."

The onus was on dog owners to find new homes for their pets as the SPCA was a last resort and had limited space, she said.

"We're asking them to either home them on Trade Me or through vets before they try us. It's their dog, they need to make the effort."

Ms Bradley said she did not have a problem taking in legitimately homeless dogs, but was sick of people feeding her lies about their circumstances.

She had people claim they were going away and could not keep their dog, but would then spot them walking around town a few days later. "That's what I find very frustrating. I'd rather people deal with me honestly."

Invercargill City Council senior animal control officer Steven Boyd said the council was unaware of the SPCA's concerns, and that dog registration fees had not increased in the past year.

It cost $82 to renew a dog licence at a standard rate, or $54 at a discounted rate. Fees not paid by the due date incurred penalties, he said.

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