Hike in dog fee riles pen­sion­ers

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - AN­DREW BACKHOUSE an­drew. back­house1@ news. com. au

PEN­SION­ERS have a bone to pick with Townsville City Coun­cil af­ter it raised their dog reg­is­tra­tion fees with­out giv­ing a warn­ing.

The Bul­letin has re­ceived mes­sages and emails from an­gry lo­cal pen­sion­ers who are up­set they that will have to pay for dog reg­is­tra­tions for the first time.

The coun­cil’s schedule of fees and charges shows that, as of Au­gust 26, reg­is­tra­tion of a sin­gle dog for a pen­sioner – usu­ally free – will be $ 10.

Alexis Wall, 68, yes­ter­day said she was shocked when she opened a no­tice from the coun­cil on Wed­nes­day and found she would be charged $ 10 to reg­is­ter her 18- year- old Jack Rus­sell, Tiny.

“Go­ing from zero to $ 10 is a lot,” she said. “You can buy a meal for $ 10.”

The Gar­butt woman said it may not seem a large amount of money to some, but pen­sion­ers would strug­gle to pay.

She said the coun­cil should have no­ti­fied res­i­dents be­fore hik­ing the fee.

“There was no ex­pla­na­tion just a bill,” she said.

“I think they should leave it as it was – at zero.

“We’ve paid our rates, we’ve paid our taxes and ev­ery­thing you can think of.

“Now we’re on a measly wage from the Govern­ment.”

Ms Wall said pen­sion­ers found it dif­fi­cult to pay for day- to- day ex­penses.

“We pay our rent, which is cheap but not re­ally cheap,” she said.

“Fuel prices are through the roof and you need a car be­cause pub­lic trans­port isn’t that great.

“Even park­ing in town, you need to pay. We’re pay­ing out to the coun­cil ev­ery­where.”

Coun­cil plan­ning and com­mu­nity en­gage­ment di­rec­tor Eber Butron said Townsville’s dog reg­is­tra­tion fees were among the low­est in the state.

“Coun­cil in­tro­duced a $ 10 fee for pen­sion­ers for a de- sexed dog to re­coup some of the costs to the com­mu­nity that go to­wards an­i­mal man­age­ment for the city, and this is less than half the price of the next cheap­est coun­cil,” he said in a state­ment.

“Pen­sion­ers also re­ceive a max­i­mum $ 800 re­bate to their an­nual rates.”

Dog reg­is­tra­tion fees have in­creased across the board and the stan­dard fee in­creased from $ 76 to $ 102.

The de­sexed dog rate in­creased by $ 1 to $ 44.

A com­par­i­son of coun­cils statewide shows Townsville dog own­ers pay the least.

Dog own­ers in Bris­bane pay $ 138.55, Mackay $ 120, Ip­swich $ 195, Cairns $ 125 and Rock­hamp­ton $ 115.50.

FURY UN­LEASHED: Alexis Wall, 68, seen here with Tiny and neigh­bour June Anderson with her pooch Ben­jie, is out­raged the Townsville City Coun­cil raised dog reg­is­tra­tion rates from noth­ing to $ 10. Pic­ture: FIONA HARD­ING

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