ARARAT Rural City Council has commenced door knocking residences that are listed as having dogs and cats that have not had their registration renewed.
It is a requirement of the Domestic Animals Act 1994 that all dogs and cats over the age of three months be registered with the local council and renewed byApril 10, each year.
Each year in late February council sends out the renewal forms to registered owners for them to attend the council offices and renew their pet's registration by April 10.
Council has undertaken an audit of the data base holding the cat and dog registrations as of May 2014.
There were 2481 dogs and 617 cats on the registration data base, however only 1754 dogs and 484 cats had active registration. This means that 727 dogs and 133 cats on the data base are not currently registered.
Ararat Rural City Council Manager Risk Emergency Services and Local Laws, Matthew Wood said council has issued 860 overdue registration letters to the last known address of the owners to remind them of their obligation to register their dogs or cats and giving them until June 30 to renew.
"I thank the residents who responded to these overdue notices and either notified us that their pet had passed away, or have renewed the registration. We are now conducting door knocks on the addresses where the owners haven't replied."
"If council attends your address and you are found to have not renewed your pet's registration, you will be issued a fine of $295.00 and still have to register your pet.
"This is not a council Local Law issue, it is State legislation called the Domestic Animals Act 1994 that mandates these laws and council is given the authority to administer the Act. Of course if you renew your registration prior to us attending your address, there will be no further action taken."
"I would also remind residents that all registrations fall due on April 10 each year, so even if you pay your registration now, it will still fall due on April 10 in 2015, and will have to be renewed by then," Mr Wood said
Ararat Rural City Council's current registration fees are as follows:
Desexed animals: Dogs $33.50 (Pensioner Concession $18.50); Cats $26 (Pensioner Concession $14).
Animals over 10 years old: Dogs $33.50 (Pensioner Concession ($18,50); Cats $26 (Pensioner Concession $14).
Dogs kept for working stock $33.50 (Pensioner Concession $18.50).
Animals kept for breeding by the proprietor of a domestic animal business conducted on a registered premises: Dogs $33.50 (Pensioner Concession $18.50); Cats: $26 (Pensioner Concession $14).
Dogs that have undergone obedience training which complies with the regulations $33.50 Pensioner Concession $18.50).
Animals registered with an applicable organisation: Dogs $33.50 (Penioner Concession $18.50); Cats $26 (Pensioner Concession $14).
All other animals: Dogs $93.50 (Pensioner Concession $48.50); Cats $74 (Pensioner Concession $38).
To receive the pensioner concession residents must hold a pension concession card which entitles them to a rebate on rates. Health card holders are not entitled to a rebate. The pensioner concession does not apply to the State Government Levy.
Registering and microchipping your dog or cat allows your pet to be returned to you if it wanders from your home.
Under the Council's Domestic Animal Management Plan if a dog or cat is registered and microchipped and found wandering, it will be returned to the owner with a verbal warning only on the first occasion (one warning per 12 months). On the second occasion release fees will be charged, then the third occasion the owner is charged the release fee and infringed for having a dog or cat at large.
If a dog or cat is unregistered, but microchipped and found wandering, the owner will be charged a release fee and the dog or cat will have to be registered prior to release.
If a dog or cat is unregistered and not microchipped and found wandering and the owner is identified, the owner is infringed for having a dog or cat at large and the animal will be registered and microchipped prior to release. If the owner cannot be found after eight days, the dog or cat will be re-housed with an animal rescue organisation.
It is an offence for a dog to be at large outside its owner's premises, or not securely confined to the property. These requirements are in place to ensure the safety of dogs (i.e. so they do not become lost or involved in traffic accidents) and also to prevent dog attacks in public places. Securely confined means your yard must have a closed gate and an escape-proof fence that your dog cannot jump, get under or through.
Legally, visitors must also have safe access to your front door, without being stopped by your dog. You are responsible if your dog attacks someone trying to get to your front door, or someone who has been invited onto your property, or a person or other animal while your dog is wandering at large. An attack by your dog can lead to court action.
We have given the community of Ararat until the end of June to renew the registration of their cat or dog, we are now following this up with physically attending the addresses."
"It is also timely to remind owners that you are restricted to a maximum of two cats and two dogs within residential areas, and six dogs and four cats in farming areas. If you wish to have more than this, you need to apply for a permit from council, who will attend and assess the permit application," Mr Wood said
Council urges pet owners to take up this opportunity and renew their animal's registration before their door is knocked on.