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Dogs (Woof!)

Two items of interest emerged during the meeting concerning dogs.

SPCA stalwarts Perry Dovell (President) and Rob Plummer presented a well researched and thoroughly commendable case in the Public Forum requesting that Council review its disgraceful method of disposal of unwanted dogs from the pound. For years they have been shot when owners have been uncontactable, or refused to pay the fees for removal.

This archaic practice is almost unique amongst comparable councils, and reflects the rather callous and casual way that dogs are dealt with generally on the Peninsula - just look at those hungry mongrels that pass for 'hunting dogs' that you see on the backs of dirty utilities all over the place.

The SPCA has had enough, and have at last brought their concerns to the attention of Council with a very generous offer for subsidised humane dispatch by their own favoured vet  - I think he calls his practice 'Paws'.

I think we can expect that this matter will receive urgent attention through the good offices of Judicial Committee Chair Cr Hoadley who made her feelings about the practice abundantly clear. Our council rangers may have to put their trusty carbines away and learn to get on a little better with the SPCA - and not before time.

The second matter concerns annual dog fees. Environmental Services Manager Craig Birkett had been asked to bring forward a paper outlining the costs and revenue surrounding this activity which for some time has split costs 53/47 between fees and rates.

There was strong sentiment around the table that dog owners should be paying more for the service, while at the same time recognising 'public good' of keeping unsafe dogs off the roads.

There was discussion around a 75/25, and 60/40 split with the latter finally being favoured after a good discussion. The Mayor and Cr Wells certainly favoured the former, but the majority went with 60/40 which will bring our fees up to about $80, and more in line with neighbouring councils. There is apparently a considerable section of our community that resist paying fees, and that is why our compliance costs are higher than in other districts. 

The breakup of contractor monthly hours is interesting - Coromandel 5, Whitianga 17, Tairua/ Pauanui 16, Whangamata 8 and Thames 10. Go figure! And the list of rules that have to be followed in dealing with complaints is mind-boggling.




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Reader Comments (2)

It's not often I disagree with Bill but the method of disposal of unwanted dogs is humane and saves the ratepayers lots of money. Perry has stated in the past that he would keep every dog, ignoring the costs of feeding, licensing, exercise, housing, and professional vets fees. Has no one noticed the lack of roaming pest dogs. Sure there are responsible dog owners but they have to shoulder the heavy burden of dog control contractor costs. Hold on, I don't own a dog yet I'm paying for the carelessness of irresponsible dog owners. They shoot humans don't they, why not the excess of dogs?

June 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeter H Wood.

Shoot humans? C'mon Pete, lets keep some perspective here. Times have changed and just shooting the bloody things is no longer acceptable - PC or otherwise! Like you I don't own a dog, but I am happy to pay a small proportion of the cost in order to keep the dammed things off the streets - particularly the dangerous ones. I do think there needs to be a differentiated fee dependent on the established risk of the breed though I do understand the can of worms in that suggestion - they do it in Hamilton.
I think Perry has modified his stand somewhat - he certainly gave that impression in PF yesterday.

June 30, 2011 | Registered CommenterBill Barclay

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