'We'll have more dogs on the street': rising fees hit pet owners in hip pocket

CONCERNS: German Shepherd breeder Helen Wood.

CONCERNS: German Shepherd breeder Helen Wood.

WITH rising registration fees for non-desexed cats and dogs, breeders are concerned registration rates could drop.

Orange City Council’s fees and charges for the 2014-15 financial year include a $35 increase for non-desexed animals not used for breeding. 

All other registration fees will rise between $4 and $9, while working and assistance animals will remain free.

From June, it will cost owners $185 to own a non-desexed pet, compared to $49 for a desexed pet or a non-desexed pet owned by a registered breeder for breeding purposes. Eligible pensioners will be able to register a desexed pet for $19.

Orange and District Kennel and Obedience Club president John Wills did not believe the cost increase for non-desexed animals would encourage owners to desex their dog or cat.

“You’ll have less registered and more dogs on the street,” he said.

“Financially, they can’t afford to police the rules they’ve got.”

Mr Wills believed many of those who chose not to desex their pets could not afford to.

German shepherd breeder and exhibitor Helen Wood only bred puppies to show and desexed her retired show dogs to prevent illness to her pets - dogs must be complete to be shown.

Ms Wood said raising the cost would penalise those already doing the right thing, while doing nothing to stop those who failed to register their dog or cat.

“When you microchip a pet, you have to fill in the papers and they send it to the council and then they contact the owner for registration, but this will stop dogs from getting microchipped,” she said.

“It’s the people who we call the backyard breeders who breed a litter and sell them. How will they catch them if they’re not microchipped?” 

Orange City Council spokesman Allan Reeder said the council formally included charges in its budgets, but the state government set the registration fees.

Mr Reeder said unwanted pets and uncontrolled breeding were problems and the cost difference was intended to make owners think seriously about whether they wanted to intentionally breed and how they would manage it.

“There is a clear incentive in the fee structure to encourage dogs owners to have their pets de-sexed,” he said.

“If a stray dog is taken to the pound, it can’t be released to its owner unless it is registered. It’s in the interests of dog owners to make sure their pet is registered and microchipped, so if it’s lost, it can be reunited with the owner.”

It is compulsory in NSW for pets to be registered and Mr Reeder said it would be policed. The fees and charges form part of the council’s Delivery/Operational Plan 2014-18, including its 2014-15 budget. 

Public submissions close on Tuesday.

The new financial year will mean higher registration charges for pets.

* Desexed animals from $40 to $49.

* Desexed animals owned by an eligible pensioner from $15 to $19.

* Non-desexed animals from $150 to $185.

* Non-desexed animals kept by a registered breeder for breeding purposes from $40 to $49.

* Animals kept for research purposes from $40 to $49.

* Assistance animals and working animals will continue to be free.

* Inspections of restricted and dangerous dog enclosures will remain at $150 an enclosure.

* Pound fees will rise from $27 to $28 for the maintenance of animals after 24 hours.

* Release costs for a first-time impounding will rise from $55 to $56.

* Release costs for a subsequent impounding within a year will rise from $80 to $83.

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