Dog registration goes online
Central Otago District Council plans to place computer kiosks at its service centres to help people get the hang of the new online dog registration service, which started this week.
As of Sunday new dogs to the district and puppies over three months of age could be registered online, using the services of Reg the Dog.
However, the council had allowed ‘‘plenty of lead-in time’’ for any familiarity issues, prior to dog registration renewals on July 1 this year, Central Otago District Council’s communications coordinator Maria de Cort said.
During May and June, computer kiosks would be set up at council service centres, with staff on hand to help guide customers through the registration process, she said.
However, Reg the Dog’s takeover of dog registrations from VetEnt Alexandra, which had provided the service to the council for 20 years, was of concern to VetEnt South Island general manager Paul Fitzpatrick.
The online service could result in fewer dog registrations because it would remove much of the face-to-face contact between the registration agency and dog owner that people had become accustomed to.
‘‘The challenge will be, how will we ever know about unregistered and unknown dogs when there’s not constant contact. That was something that the Central Otago staff did particularly well, because they are talking to farmers and dog owners all the time. An online system completely relies on dog owners voluntarily entering the information.’’
As of May 2014, Central Otago had 5678 registered dogs and 2925 owners.
Kaikoura District Council, which was the first local authority to use Reg the Dog in New Zealand, had seen fewer registrations since the online service was introduced two years ago, dog control officer Ian Woodward said.
A council dog registration report for the year ending June 30 2014, the first full year the new system was in place, showed 1001 registered dogs compared with 1133 dogs in 2013, and 1020 dogs in 2012.
However, the council’s customer services officer Joanna Henley said there had been a few teething problems at the beginning. Now that the system was working more smoothly, online registration had reduced the council’s workload, she said.
Dogs online: Central Otago District Council has introduced an online dog registration this week. Central Otago District Council’s planning and environment administration officer Sue de Jong and her dog Archie take a walk through the new system.