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Dog pound deal on the table

In Carterton, 43 dogs were impounded in the 2020-21 financial year. In South Wairarapa, 66 were impounded over the same time, and 239 in Masterton. PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

Carterton District Council [CDC] hopes it can strike deals with neighbouring councils to avoid building its own dog pound.

If a deal cannot be struck, CDC would need to build its own pound at a cost of $549,000.

It was made public on Wednesday that an agreement is being drafted in which Carterton proposes to pay its neighbouring councils a per night rate for impounded dogs without paying towards capital costs.

The proposal comes after talks for a combined dog pound dating back to 2007 and previous failed attempts to come to an agreement on a joint facility by Wairarapa’s three district councils.

CDC chief executive Geoff Hamilton said his council approached the two other Wairarapa councils in July to re-investigate the possibility of a shared facility “however, this outcome looks unlikely”.

“At this stage, a possible Overnight Animal Impound Service Agreement is in early development, which would allow CDC to pay to use the other councils’ facilities on an ‘as needed’ basis, instead of building its own facility.

“Once the details have been finalised, the Overnight Animal Impound Service Agreement will need to go before councils before a final decision being made.

“An operating cost model is being proposed, which would avoid CDC contributing capital towards either SWDC or MDC facilities but would contribute revenue to SWDC and MDC to offset their costs accordingly.

It is anticipated a draft agreement would be presented to CDC’s ordinary council meeting on September 14.

In Carterton, 43 dogs were impounded in the 2020-21 financial year.

In South Wairarapa, 66 were impounded over the same time, and 239 in Masterton.

The potential service agreement proposed by CDC was made public on Wednesday at South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] meeting shortly before elected members agreed to dedicate $456,500 to build a facility

in Featherston. This amount included a 10 per cent contingency. The budget was previously $340,000.

The new cost reflects changes in construction costs over the past year, and the high cost of meeting animal welfare and health and safety standards.

Before elected members approved the bigger budget, South Wairarapa Mayor Alex Beijen said talks were under way with CDC.

“I was going to wait until the resolution has passed, but I can announce that we are in discussions with CDC on an MoU to actually now use the resultant pound as a shared pound,” Beijen said.

“However, this is not set in concrete, but certainly, discussions are progressing, which is a valuable result.”

SWDC chief executive said the dog pound issue had been “contentious”.

“Many people cannot see why it costs what it does or why we cannot go in with another council,” he said.

“There have been talks for some time with other councils but in the past, they have been inconclusive, and in the meantime, for our requirements, dogs urgently need a new pound.”

The council had land at the former Featherston Golf Course that it could use for the facility, Wilson said.

“There are government animal welfare standards that dog pounds must meet. It is likely the longer we delay, the higher the cost.” – 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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