Unknown number of illegal dogs an issue
The Mackenzie District Council will have to find ways to address the "significant, but unknown" number of unregistered dogs in the area.
Planning manager Nathan Hole told the Herald there were 1754 registered dogs in the district, with about three-quarters of them classed as "working" dogs.
"It's an unknown number, but I'm guessing there could be about 50 unregistered dogs," he said.
"Rural dogs have to be registered, but they don't have to get micro-chipped.
"So in some cases, it might be that the owner replaced their dogs, but didn't do the proper paperwork, and just handed over the tags. In other cases, they just haven't registered them."
Mr Hole said the council did not have the resources for regular "spot-checks" of dog-owners.
"The bylaws are up for review, so the question is whether we need to put extra funding into it, and whether we have to find some way of paying for it, either out of our current budget, or through increasing registration fees."
Last year, councillors voted to increase registration fees by about $1 each - recovering an extra $1800 - despite the fact that Mr Hole had said the dog control department needed an extra $20,000 to properly carry out its duties.
Mr Hole said although ensuring all dogs were registered was an ongoing issue, on the whole there were not many problems with the dogs' behaviour.
There were only two registered dogs classed as dangerous in the district - one for a historic incident in Twizel, and another that bit a Fairlie resident earlier this year.
The council received 18 complaints from residents about dogs in the last year - nine related to dogs wandering off the property, four for "rushing and attacking" dogs, two for "barking dogs" and three for dog attacks on stock.
However, the council issued only three infringement notices in the past 12 months.
"With most of the instances, we are able to follow up with the dog owner and resolve the issue without having to issue an infringement notice," Mr Hole said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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