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Dog registration fees on the rise

Dog registration fees are set to rise again this year in Masterton, but help may be on the way next year for those who can’t afford it.

At last week’s full Masterton council meeting, elected members approved an average dog fees rise of 9 per cent, bringing the cost of registering a neutered urban dog to $109 for the 2023-24 year.

An urban entire dog would cost $188 to register.

People who qualify for the council’s “responsible owner” status would pay $82.

These fees are higher than what Carterton and South Wairarapa councils charge.

Masterton Mayor Gary Caffell said he has always been a strong opponent of dog fee rises and is “losing that battle constantly”.

“I think one of the things missing from this report is the social consequence of fees going up,” he said.

“It’s not mentioned in the report, and I believe there are a number of people within the Masterton district who are going to find any rise in dog fees not good in terms of their private life.”

Caffell said a number of people who are elderly, disabled, or on a fixed income or benefit had approached him recently and pleaded for no increase in dog fees “on the basis that they would actually have to give up their dog”.

“They see that as mentally being something they couldn’t bear,” Caffell said.

“We have to be aware that as a council we must look at the wellbeing part of life in Masterton.

“I think there will be a number of people who will be hugely affected if they can’t keep their dog.”

Caffell asked that when the council reviews its revenue and finance policy in September that equitable dog fee discounts be investigated.

Meanwhile, in Carterton, the council has introduced a new fee this year called “over 65 canine companion”.

A council report said the new category recognises the rising cost of living and the impact that additional charges can have on many people on fixed incomes.

People who qualify for this would pay $75 instead of $85 to register a neutered urban dog. – 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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