Tag Archives: animal control

Dog registration

It’s that time of year again – time to renew Izzy’s registration.

Dog registration is a legal requirement throughout New Zealand and dogs must be registered before they reach the age of 3 months.

Licence tag

Dog registration fees vary widely across different city and district councils but most offer discounts for spaying/neutering and also holding responsible dog owner status.  In my case, I have held responsible dog owner status for years and this qualifies me for the lowest rate possible.

My $57 fee goes towards the support of services like impounding lost dogs until they can be re-united with their families (hopefully) and officers responding to complaints about dog bites or attacks.

Unfortunately, there’s a portion of our community who don’t register their dogs and so they are not paying their fair share for services.  I know that some people will say that they can’t afford to pay the fees; but I have to ask – if you can’t pay your registration fee how can you afford to care for your dog?

I support efforts to make people better dog guardians.  It starts with an understanding that having a dog is a privilege and not a right.  If you are going to be a good dog owner, then pay your fair share to manage dogs in your community.

Below is the schedule of dog registration fees for 2017/2018 in the Christchurch City Council area:

Item Fee
Dogs classified as dangerous
If paid on or before 31 July $137.00
If paid on or after 1 August $169.00
Un-neutered dogs (other than Responsible Dog Owner status)
If paid on or before 31 July $91.00
If paid on or after 1 August $124.00
Spayed/neutered dogs (other than Responsible Dog Owner status)
If paid on or before 31 July $80.00
If paid on or after 1 August $112.00
Owner granted Responsible Dog Owner status
First dog
If paid on or before 30 June $57.00
If paid between 1 July and 31 July $80.00
If paid on or after 1 August $112.00
Second and subsequent dogs
If paid on or before 30 June $39.00
If paid between 1 July and 31 July $80.00
If paid on or after 1 August $112.00
Working / Rural dogs
First dog
If paid on or before 31 July $27.00
If paid on or after 1 August $39.00
Second and subsequent dogs
If paid on or before 31 July $22.00
If paid on or after 1 August $32.00
Disability Assist dogs NIL
More Than Two Dogs licence (other than rural zoning and Banks Peninsula wards)
Licence for 3 dogs $70.00
Re-inspection fee – same property $32.00

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

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When a neighbour complains…

In my practice, I have met a few owners who have received complaints about their dog’s excessive barking.  Unlike the note seen below, most complaints in Christchurch seem to be made by people to Animal Control, which instigates a visit by an officer to your home.

your-dog-has-been-barking

It’s natural that a complaint will put you into a defensive mode, but being in that frame of mind often means you don’t handle the situation as well as you should.

Here’s my advice on how to constructively approach a barking dog complaint.

Be Considerate and Listen

Don’t get angry.

If a neighbour complains to you directly, listen to what they have to say.  Ask questions about the time of day that the dog is barking, length of time the barking lasts for, and understand the location of your section and proximity to the neighbour.

If the Animal Control Officer pays you a visit, pay attention to what they are saying and the steps they want you to take.  Don’t feel intimidated because they are a Council officer – ask questions to understand the scope of the complaint, and how much time you have to respond.

Be Empathetic

Put yourself in the position of your neighbour and show some empathy for their stress.  Particularly if you have a neighbour complain to your directly, try to build a bridge from the complaint to ways to solve the problem so both of you can remain happy.

Investigate

Ask your neighbour to keep a log book of the barking (I know that one of my clients had an Animal Control officer ask for this).  Make random visits to your home at off-hours to see if you can hear your dog barking.  To make this effective, park your car a couple of blocks away and walk to your property – your dog knows the sound of your car!

Check all of your fencing for security.  If your dog is being visually stimulated by activity over the fence, find ways to cover and reduce the gaps in your fence.

Keep Documentation – You Can Still Be Cooperative While Defending Yourself

I’ve seen situations where a neighbour is hard to satisfy and perhaps ultra-sensitive to barking.  When this has been the case, I’ve suggested that the owner take their dog to a day care centre on random dates.  When compared to their neighbour’s barking diary,  they can show that their dog was not on the property that day.  (This can be a very powerful defense in dealing with the Council.)

It may pay to seek the support of either an animal behaviourist or a dog trainer (there is a difference in scope of practice).  If you hire professional expertise, then provide receipts and a report to show along with any other evidence of what you have done to help decrease  your dog’s barking.

If you’ve reinforced your fencing to reduce your dog’s visual stimulation – take photos before/after.

dogs-at-fenc

The Animal Control section has the option of installing bark recorders, which can help you track the problem.  They can confirm (or not) the extent of the barking to validate a complaint.

The good news is that most barking complaints can be resolved, through management of your dog’s environment, focusing on the problem, and being constructive.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand