Dunedin is home to more dogs than any of the other Southern council territories.
Dog registrations in Dunedin are due by the end of this month but what are owners paying for, other than a yellow plastic tag?
Dunedin dogs must be registered for 2019-20 by Wednesday.
The cost to register a pet dog in Dunedin is $106.
Of the eight most southern councils in New Zealand, Dunedin is the third most expensive to register a dog – behind Queenstown ($155) and Gore ($120) and above Invercargill ($100).
Dunedin had the most registered dogs of the eight councils in 2018-19 (18,306) and Queenstown had the fewest (5033).
From next month, all unregistered dogs older than 3 months in Dunedin will incur a 50% penalty added to the original fee.
When dogs are registered this year, the Dunedin City Council has free compostable dog poo bags available to dog owners. Owners must collect one roll of the bags from the council every two months over a year, starting this month.
Council compliance, animal and parking services team leader Peter Hanlin said the bags were a trial initiative to encourage people to pick up their dog poo while reducing their environmental impact by offering an alternative to plastic bag use.
“As this is the first time we’ve done this, it’s difficult to know what the uptake will be.
“By ordering smaller amounts we’re able to offer the bags without ending up with an excess, and limiting when owners can collect rolls ensures people don’t miss out.”
The level of service the council offers for the registration fee is comparable with other urban councils.
The council provides six dog parks and a range of services, including an “around the clock service” for complaints about dog attacks, aggressive dogs and wandering dogs.
Animal services staff regularly patrol city streets, beaches, parks, walking tracks and sports fields to ensure dog owners behave responsibly when walking their dogs.
Each year, the council investigates about 3000 complaints, offers education programmes for the public and funds a dog-neutering programme, available to dog owners who hold a Community Services Card.
Dog owners can apply for responsible owner status, which reduces their annual registration fee by nearly 44%.
An owner must prove they are responsible and meet criteria, including having a fenced property and no dog complaints on their record for the past two years.
A once-only charge for this status gives the owner an annual discount.
The registration fee for a responsible owner in the current year is $60.
Dog owners can also apply for a $10 rebate if their dog is neutered.