by Rhea Dasent Federated Farmers Regional Policy Advisor
Federated Farmers opposes the Hastings working dog registration fee increasing from $48 to $56.
While we are pleased that the cost of registering a working dog is heavily discounted compared to town dogs, $56 is still too expensive, especially when there is no discount for subsequent dogs or dog teams.
As soon as a farmer has more than one dog, the cost advantage of the lower working dog fee is wiped out.
A farmer with three dogs is unlikely to receive $168 benefit from the council service compared to an urban dog owner with one dog who will pay $115.
A team of ten dogs will cost the Hastings farmer a whopping $560, just for one year’s registration.
Federated Farmers asks the Council to consider carefully whether farmers with ten dogs deserve to pay this much, and what demand this farmer would place on the dog control service.
In comparison, a single working dog in Central Hawkes Bay costs $51, $40 for a Tararua working dog, and $43 for South Wairarapa. Neither of these councils have a discount for subsequent dogs, or teams.
A single working dog in Masterton costs $80 to register, however this council has the much lower fee of $22 for subsequent dogs, so a team of 10 dogs will cost the Masterton farmer only $280.
On the whole, farmers value and manage their dogs well, and good dog management is a self-regulating aspect of farming. Farmers spend many hours training their dogs, and bad behaviour like wandering or being aggressive to animals or people is dealt with quickly.
Farm dogs are contained in their kennels or chained up at night, and because of the large size of farms, dogs are contained on the property, they do not roam the streets, and barking rarely annoys the neighbours.
Federated Farmers suggests that a lower fee for subsequent working dogs is introduced.
There are 19 other councils that have this reduced fee structure.
Dog teams are common in sheep and beef Hawke’s Bay and the cost is an unjustified burden, and likely a discouragement to registration.