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Dog pound deal for debate

CDC’s pound is old and does not meet guidelines set by the Ministry for Primary Industries. PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

Carterton councillors will decide today whether they will progress a pay-per-night dog pound agreement with neighbouring councils.

If it goes ahead, the deal would save Carterton about $400,000 in capital costs once fully implemented.

Masterton and South Wairarapa councils have not yet agreed to the arrangement and the overnight fee has not been determined. It is anticipated the fee may be from $150 to $350 a dog, per night.

If no agreement between Carterton District Council [CDC] and neighbouring councils can be reached, CDC would need to build a new pound at a capital cost of $519,000. If an agreement is made, CDC would need to invest $75,000 into the Carterton pound so it can be used as a day-holding facility.

This money would be taken from the existing budget for the construction of an animal impound facility.

Further capital investment for climate change – anticipated to be in the region of $42,000 – would be funded from the Three Waters Better Off grant.

CDC’s pound is old and does not meet guidelines set by the Ministry for Primary Industries [MPI]. It is used, but does not have a small outdoor area; is without power; is poorly fenced; and needs significant work to bring it up to guidelines.

Masterton and South Wairarapa’s pounds also did not meet MPI guidelines and both councils were progressing with building their own pounds after talks for a combined Wairarapa dog pound failed.

South Wairarapa District Council was constructing a container-based facility, which would be unstaffed and have limited access to other services such as a vet area and euthanising area.

The Masterton District Council [MDC] facility is still under design, but is expected to be staffed, and have the capability to undertake vet checks, and the ability to euthanise animals when necessary.

In his report to Carterton councillors, chief executive Geoff Hamilton said that agreement on fees had been a “major hurdle to date”, given no council wanted to cross-subsidise another.

CDC did not plan to contribute any capital costs to the other councils’ pounds.

“The challenge around fees is mostly twofold,” he said.

“Firstly, the MPI guidelines drive increased costs to achieve their high standards.

“Secondly, with construction costs increasing faster than the inflation rate, there is a great deal of uncertainty on the total build costs of both SWDC and MDC facilities.

“In addition, until the MDC and SWDC pounds have been built, some reluctance involves the potential for actual build costs materially differing from the planned costs.”

Hamilton said market rates for boarding kennels ranged from $30 to $60 a night depending on the size of the dog and length of stay.

“Council facilities appear to be held to much higher standards by both animal owners and MPI.

“Delivering these services is reflected in the anticipated costs, hence the reference to a “high-end” market rate.

“We anticipate the rates will be scaled but may be as high as $150 to $350 per night.”

Because the fees have not been agreed upon, if councillors decide to progress the arrangement, “CDC risks having no option but to accept the fees charged at a later date”.

“Despite this risk, it is recommended we do not construct a dog pound in CDC at this time and continue work on leveraging otherwise vacant space in SWDC and MDC proposed pounds,” he said.

Carterton councillors have been asked to note that the Dog Impound Service Agreement would save about $400,000 in capital costs once fully implemented.– NZLDR

  • Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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