Dog­gone it, that’s ex­pen­sive

The cost of those tags varies greatly, writes Vir­ginia Fal­lon.

Sunday Star-Times - - NEWS -

Os­car, Cot­ton and Diesel are three pricey pups. Porirua City, where the trio live, is the coun­try’s most ex­pen­sive place to reg­is­ter a dog and owner John Holmes isn’t happy about that.

Porirua tops the na­tional list at $126 for yearly reg­is­tra­tion, com­pared to $30 in South­land.

To find the prici­est pups and cheap­est ca­nines, the Sun­day StarTimes asked lo­cal au­thor­i­ties what own­ers fork over for Rover.

We com­pared them on var­i­ous ar­eas, start­ing with the cost of a de­sexed dog reg­is­tered be­fore July 31.

Porirua City Coun­cil man­ager of en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards Jim Sut­ton said the fees went to­wards ser­vices such as owner education, dog con­trol and re­hom­ing un­wanted dogs.

He said the city had the high­est per­cent­age of de­sexed dogs in the coun­try and the sec­ond-high­est per­cent­age of mi­crochipped, reg­is­tered dogs.

All ur­gent re­quests to an­i­mal con­trol re­ceived a re­sponse within two hours and the coun­cil was con­sult­ing on the need for dog parks.

But Holmes would pre­fer a drop in fees or a switch to a ‘‘user pays’’ sys­tem. ‘‘Bad own­ers should pay more,’’ he said.

Porirua’s fee was only a dol­lar higher than Welling­ton City’s, but Do­minic God­frey doesn’t be­grudge pay­ing the coun­try’s sec­ond­high­est fee.

‘‘It’s still ex­pen­sive but con­sid­er­ing what we get for itm it does make it less painful.’’

In ar­eas that of­fered both an ur­ban and a ru­ral reg­is­tra­tion price, we used the amount for the city lick­ers.

Coun­cils were asked how much it costs to reg­is­ter an aid/mo­bil­ity dog, the cost of a re­place­ment reg­is­tra­tion tag and how many, if any, fully fenced, dog exclusive parks they of­fered.

Fees var­ied widely around New Zealand’s largest cities.

Welling­ton had the high­est reg­is­tra­tion fees at $125 and charged $11 for a tag. Dog own­ers in the cap­i­tal have the choice of two parks.

Christchurch came in the low­est at $80. Tags are free in the Gar­den City, which of­fers four dog walk­ing parks.

Dunedin was the only lo­cal au­thor­ity to charge for mo­bil­ity dogs, ask­ing $20 to cover ad­min­is­tra­tion costs.

Cen­tral Hawkes Bay was the most ex­pen­sive at $95 but a spokes­woman said it was a ‘‘his­tor­i­cal’’ charge and would be re­viewed in the long-term plan.

When it came to dog parks, Dunedin leads the pack with eight, Waikato has seven and Auck­land just four.

Welling­ton SPCA care man­ager Nick Tay­lor said the or­gan­i­sa­tion would like to see reg­is­tra­tion time changed from winter to sum­mer.

The num­ber of dogs sur­ren­dered to the cen­tre peaked around reg­is­tra­tion time but en­tirely to blame.

‘‘We see al­most ex­clu­sively dogs un­der 18 months who aren’t get­ting enough ex­er­cise be­cause of the weather and be­com­ing a bit de­struc­tive.

‘‘Maybe the reg­is­tra­tion is the straw that breaks the camel’s back.’’ fees weren’t

ROSS GI­B­LIN / FAIR­FAX NZ

John Holmes with Diesel, Cot­ton and Os­car on Ti­tahi Bay Beach in Porirua, where dog reg­is­tra­tion is the high­est in the coun­try.

FAIR­FAX NZ

Muri­wai Beach, where a kitesurfer was found dead yes­ter­day.

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