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Council’s new policy on dogs not for everyone

PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

PAM GRAHAM
[email protected]

So far 20 people have signed up for the Masterton District Council’s responsible dog owner policy, the council said this week.

Information about Masterton’s new responsible dog owner policy was mailed out with dog registration notices on May 31.

Many councils have an RDO status option and the qualifying rules vary.

Under Masterton’s new policy, owners must have paid fees on time for the past two years and the dog must be micro-chipped and de-sexed.

It has to have a good shelter and be in a fully fenced property with a containment area, and people have to be able to get to a door of your house without meeting the dog.

The dog can’t have been caught roaming, been impounded or been the subject of complaint.

That could catch a few people out as there were 883 wandering, stray and lost dog reports in 2016/17, and 239 dogs were impounded, 179 of whom were returned to the owner.

The council has said 93 per cent of people who responded to one of its surveys liked the idea of a good dog owner policy, though just 12 per cent said it would improve affordability for dog owners.

The Times-Age has been contacted by people who consider themselves to be good dog owners but are annoyed they have to pay a fee to be recognised for what they are doing anyway.

“It is almost like a pat on a head – yes you’re a good boy, but we’re going to take $20 off you to say you’re a good boy,” a reader who didn’t want to be named, said.

“The list of criteria you have to sign is nothing more than what good dog owners would do anyway.”

The man paid his registration fee this week and didn’t take up the RDO option.

A report updating environmental services’ activities, including information about the annual dog registration mailout with the RDO option information, was approved at meeting of the council’s strategic planning and policy committee this week.

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