An increase in the number of unregistered dogs has prompted Bundaberg Regional Council to authorise a door-to-door inspection program to support its essential animal control services.
In today’s Council meeting, held March 30, Bundaberg Regional Council endorsed a systematic inspection program to identify unregistered dogs, which will be conducted between 1 May and 31 October 2021.
The focus of this program will be on previously registered dogs, dangerous dogs and dogs that have not been registered before.
Dog registration is required under State Government legislation and failure to register your dog is an offence which carries a $266 fine.
Dog owners are encouraged to register all their dogs urgently before the inspection program and before fines need to be issued.
Animal Control spokesperson Cr May Mitchell said between February 2020 and February 2021 more than half of the dogs impounded by Council were unregistered.
“Returning unregistered dogs to their owners after they are impounded is significantly more costly than finding the owners of a registered animal,” Cr Mitchell said.
“If a dog is registered and microchipped, our staff can quickly identify their home address and, in most instances, can return them directly without any need for impoundment.
“Unregistered dogs on the other hand must be impounded until the owners come forward which has a range of associated costs including transport, food, cleaning and medication when needed.
“Earlier this month a review of our data revealed that, of the 16000 dog registrations on our system, more than 4000 have not been renewed.”
Cr Mitchell said dog registration fees helped to fund the vital animal control service and create spaces for the region’s residents to enjoy with their dogs.
“We are always looking at how we can provide improved or additional services for the region’s animal lovers.
“Council recently invested in further embellishments to existing dog off leash parks including agility equipment and is looking at options to introduce new off leash areas within the region.”
However, she said increasing costs and decreasing registration numbers meant less money was available for Council to proactively fund new facilities.
“The community is currently bearing the costs of Council dealing with such a high number of unregistered dogs through the pound.”
Cr Mitchell said it was common for Councils to conduct an animal registration inspection program.
“Bundaberg Regional Council conducted a similar inspection program in 2014 which identified about 6000 unregistered dogs.
“Since then the number of registered dogs has declined but at the same time we believe it is possible the total number of dogs in the region has increased.
“Council officers are certainly receiving a higher number of dog related requests with barking dog complaints in particular steadily increasing.
“Following investigation officers have found that over 60 per cent of those complaints related to unregistered dogs.
“We hope that this inspection program will help us to increase dog registrations which promotes responsible pet ownership, helps return dogs home sooner and reduces the financial burden on ratepayers for the provision of this essential service.
“The additional registration fees received by Council will be used to improve animal management services for the benefit of all residents.”
Council introduced a 50 per cent discount for all dog registration fees for 2020/21 to assist the community through COVID.