Responsible dog ownership – what does it mean in your town?

The 1st of July will mark the start of a new financial year for many towns and here in Christchurch it means that dog registrations must be paid for another year.

Christchurch encourages responsible dog ownership by offering certified responsible dog owners a dramatically reduced registration fee.  For a spayed or neutered dog, the fee drops from $76.00 to $53.00.  Second and subsequent dogs at the same residence can be registered for only $37.00 each.

What does it mean to be a responsible dog owner? 

Dog owners must apply to the council to be granted responsible dog owner status.

Applicants for Responsible Dog Ownership status sign an application form stating that they have and will continue to meet all the following conditions and requirements listed below:

(a) No dog owned by the applicant in the last two years has:

(i) Been impounded, chased or returned home by Council Dog Control staff.

(ii) Been the subject of any bona-fide complaint.

(iii) Been issued with an infringement notice for any dog related offence.

(b) All dog registration fees have been paid for the past two years by the due date.

(c) The applicant has not been prosecuted, nor issued with an infringement notice, for any dog related offences.

(d) Any information regarding the purchase of, death, sale or transfer of dogs to and from the applicant’s property, including movement of any pups born on the premises, shall continue to be promptly notified in writing to the Council.

(e) The applicant’s property is suitably fenced and gated to ensure it is dog-proof.

Dog free access to a door of the dwelling is provided for authorised callers.

(The Council reserves the right to carry out random property inspections to ensure compliance.)

(f) All dog(s) owned or kept by the applicant will be controlled in accordance with the Dog Control Act 1996 and with current Council Dog Control Bylaws.

(g) The applicant has been a recorded dog owner and resided within the Christchurch City Council area for at least 12 months. If an owner has not been a recorded dog owner and resided in Christchurch City for at least one year but can produce written evidence that they have had a classification with criteria similar in most respects to those included here in another territorial authority they may be considered to have fulfilled this condition.

(h) Any faecal matter (droppings) deposited by the applicant’s dog(s) in any public place or on any land other than that occupied by the applicant will be removed forthwith and deposited in a suitable receptacle.

(i) Any change of residential address within the city shall be notified in writing to the Council within 14 days.

(j) The applicant understands that any breach of the above conditions will lead to the immediate cancellation of privileges under this policy.

(k) The applicant is aware that the granting of this application does not relieve the applicant from payment of the full dog control fee.

If the dog owner breaches the rules in any way, they can lose their Responsible Dog Owner status for a period of two years.

What does your town do to encourage responsible dog ownership?

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

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