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Amnesty Nets Nearly 500 Dogs

Amnesty Nets Nearly 500 Dogs

Hutt City Council's amnesty for owners of previously unregistered dogs to come forward and register their dogs without penalty has been an unqualified success, said Les Dalton, Hutt City's Manager, Animal Control.

"By the end of the amnesty there were 474 new dogs registered. We expected interest but this was an excellent result and can only hope it is an indication that owners are waking up to their responsibilities," said Les Dalton.

Hutt City offered an amnesty that allowed owners of previously unregistered dogs to register them for a proportion of the annual dog registration fee.

The amnesty ended on 28 March. From this point on, owners of unregistered dogs face a $200 fine as well as having to pay the registration fee.

"The amount of money the amnesty generated was relatively small, but the increase in yearly registration fees will certainly go some way towards ensuring that responsible dog owners are not penalised by the actions of an irresponsible few," said Les Dalton.

The dog registration year runs from 1 July to 30 June. All dog owners will shortly start receiving reminders to register their dogs.

In association with the amnesty, Hutt City has also conducted house to house surveys looking for unregistered dogs and recently employed an additional animal control officer to help with increased enforcement activities.

Hutt City Mayor John Terris said additional funding of $50,000 had been included in Hutt City's draft Community Plan, which would be used to conduct blitzes for wandering, unregistered dogs, develop targeted education and publicity, provide enhanced after hours service and improve signage in dog control areas.

"The message we want to make very clear is that people have a right to walk in public spaces without feeling intimidated or being attacked. If you refuse to recognise the responsibilities that come with dog ownership then, sooner or later, we're going to take your dog off you," said Mayor Terris.

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