A Word from the Editor

Published July 31, 2013

It is very exciting times at the TOM – we have launched our new website with scope for the community to engage with each other more often. It is working really well with many in the community already accessing up to date information and also sharing information. Keep the contributions coming in! And the comments –feel free to leave your opinion so long as it is not slander, rude, swearing or demeaning!

There have been some strong feelings expressed about the ever rising dog registration fee. I spoke with Jim (chief dog control officer) at the council about the fairness or otherwise of the fee and the appointment of two more officers. The general opinion I was hearing was – what does a trouble free dog owner get for their money and why do they have to pay for out of control and trouble dogs?

The council quote in a press release that there were 226 animal attacks in 2012 – up 59% and that wandering dogs rose 64% from 871 to 1430. What the council can’t tell you is the proportion of those dogs that are registered and unregistered! It would be simplistic to say all dogs that attack are unregistered and it is well known that the family pet is most likely to attack. I don’t see these statistics as justification for increasing fees.

With regards to the two new officers who are on short term contracts – their positions are modelled on a successful campaign carried out in Hastings. The increase in registered dogs through their efforts will apparently pay their wages.

I think we could all agree we have a great team of dog control officers who are diligent and committed to keeping the public and public places safe from nuisance dogs – they come whenever called, seven days a week. They are actively trying to educate the public about best dog practices.

So to fees – for those of us who live in rural Oakura, the news is good according to Jim. The guidelines for categorising your dog as rural has usually been interpreted as landowners with more than a hectare can class their dog as rural – less than that then it is urban even if you live 10kms from town.

Jim tells me if you clearly live in the country on less than a hectare and your dog is well behaved, neutered and micro-chipped then you can have your dog re-categorised as a rural dog. This drops the fee to about $50 instead of $100 so is well worth applying for. After all rural dogs are less trouble than their city counterparts!