Animal Control

It is Council’s responsibility to ensure that animals, mainly dogs, are not a nuisance to the community. Dog registration is a legal requirement and the fees fund the dog control operation. This includes answering complaints about dogs, monitoring rubbish days, attending dog attacks, educating school and community groups to encourage responsible dog ownership and caring for the animals in the pound.

Compliance Officers also deal with stock that are uncontrolled on roads.

And we will look at all animal welfare affecting all animals. If they are not warranted to deal with an animal welfare issue, all officers are able to point you in the right direction to the organisation that will be able to assist you. The welfare of all animals is a top priority for the team and they need the communities help to alert them to things they may not be aware of.

Adopt a Dog

Council’s Compliance team manage an Adopt a Dog programme. Every dog that enters the Pound is assessed by Compliance Officers for its suitability to be re-homed. This task is taken very seriously and Officers go out of their way to find the right owner, for the right dog. Decisions made to rehome a dog to a successful candidate is never based on a ‘first serve’ basis. The successful candidate will be the owner that can provide the home and environment that the dog needs according to their size and breed characteristics.

Criteria apply and there is a re-home fee. Before any prospective owner is permitted to rehome a dog from the Pound they must have passed a property inspection. This includes an Officer visiting the potential property to ensure it is securely fenced and that the dog, if kept outside has a weather proof kennel. If at any time the Unit feels that the dog will not be a good fit for the property or the new owners, we have the right to refuse the applicant. All dogs are de-sexed before they leave the Pound at no additional cost to the new owner.

Dog Control and Registration Fees and Charges - 2020-21

Check with your local council regarding fees and charges for pet ownership


Disposing of Dead Animals

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) is responsible for the disposal of dead animals.
MAF can be contacted on 0800 809 966

Dog Control Information

A Compliance Officer may request details including full name, date of birth, address, telephone number and place of work from the owner of a dog or from the person appearing to be in control of the dog. They may also request the name, gender and description of the dog. It is an offence not to provide this information.

Dogs found roaming in any public place may be impounded, whether they are registered and micro chipped or not. To retrieve the animal, fees are levied. If you are concerned about a roaming dog, contact us and Council will arrange for a Compliance Officer to investigate.

Check with your local council regarding how many dogs are permitted on your property.

All dogs must be kept on a leash in any public place except in special designated dog exercise areas. Failure to do so can result in an instant fine. Pamphlets detailing these dog exercise areas are available from the Council offices. In off leash areas, dogs must be under voice control.

Your dog must be under the direct control of a person OR confined on the property. Failure to do so could result in an instant fine. On an unfenced property, the dog must be caged or under the direct control of a person. Council has the right to seize and impound any dog if considered appropriate.

If you have lost your dog, please contact a Compliance Officer at Council.

Legislation requires all dog owners to keep their dogs, under control at all times. This includes dealing with a dog that has caused a nuisance because of loud and persistent barking. Under section 63 of the Dog Control Act 1996, dog owners are liable for any damage caused by their dog to private property.

Registering your dog

Dog owners have an obligation to register all dogs over the age of three months by 31 July* each year.

The registration year runs from 1 July to 30 June the following year. The full fee must be paid by 31 July* when penalties will come in to effect from 1 August*.

Failure to register your dog could result in an infringement fine (see Fees and Charges) and/or court fine under the Dog Control Amendment Act 2003. There is no registration charge for assistance dogs registered as a Seeing Eye Dog and/or Hearing Ear Dog.
If you are a dog owner, that has not paid your dog registration in full or has defaulted on your agreed weekly payments, you will receive an Infringement for Failing to Register a dog. Please understand that if you remain non-compliant and your Infringement has gone through the court system, Compliance Officers are then obliged to seize your dog(s) and impound it/them until the balance of the dog registration is paid in full. You, as the owner of that dog will incur a seizure fee and daily sustenance fees.

NOTE, failure to pay your dog registration in full every year will result in enforcement measures. If you are having difficulty in getting the money together please ring our customer service team who will go through some helpful alternatives with you. We are here to help, and with your cooperation we are happy to find a solution.

If you move house within the District, you need to notify Council by phone or in writing. If you move to another District, you need to notify the council you are leaving and the council for the District you are moving to. Registration tags are easily swapped between different Districts at no additional charge to you as an owner. Failure to advise local authorities in writing or phone of a change of address and registration details can result in a court fine.


New microchip laws came into effect on 1 July 2006. All dogs first registered on or after 01 July 2006 need to be chipped. Working dogs are exempt from micro-chipping by law. Council’s Compliance Officers are available to microchip your dog for a small fee (see Fees and Charges). Contact Council to make an appointment. For Council contact details please go to this link.

This is a simple procedure taking only minutes and is crucial if your dog gets lost or stolen. Many dogs have been returned to their owners after long periods of time because a Compliance Officer or Veterinarian has been able to locate an owner through the owners details attached to the microchip. Microchips inserted in animals are not are not loaded with a GPS, they simply have a sequence of numbers that when put into the National Dog Database will reveal the owner’s contact details and a description of the dog.

Dog Problems


Should you have an Animal Control complaint call in at the District Council offices and complete a form.
The situation will be attended to by a Compliance Officer. If your complaint is of a serious nature, ie, a dog attack please ring as soon as you are able to. Don’t wait until the next day, time is of the essence.
Pit bull terriers and crossbreeds of pit bulls are required to be classified as Menacing due to the characteristics of the breed. Council is permitted to classify any dog as a ‘dangerous dog’ should unsuitably aggressive behaviour be observed or reported. Menacing dogs and Dangerous dogs need to be muzzled and on a leash at all times when in public places unless they are entirely within a vehicle.

Dog Attacks

Dog attacks are unacceptable. Council has the power to seize dogs that attack people or other animals. If you, a person you know or your pet has been attacked by a dog, contact the council immediately and a Compliance Officer will investigate. Again, do not delay.

Barking dogs

Barking is normal canine behaviour and is permitted. However, it is an offence for a dog to create a nuisance by persistent loud barking or howling. Where a nuisance is created, Council has the right to insist that the responsible person take immediate measures to control the behaviour.
If you do live near a dog that you consider to be a nuisance and you feel comfortable talking to the owner, do so as a first step. Although this can feel confronting, it is sometimes the best way to get a resolution to the problem, most people appreciate you coming to them in the first instance. The dog owner may not be aware of your concern and could take steps to improve the situation without it becoming a Council issue. Alternatively contact Council. A Compliance Officer will investigate.

Menacing Dogs

The Dog Control Act automatically classifies dogs that are wholly or predominantly of these breeds as menacing, no matter how they behave individually. These dogs are the Brazilian Fila, Dogo Argentino, Japanese Tosa, Perro de Presa Canario and American Pit Bull Terrier.

Menacing by behavior

Any dog can also be classified as menacing by behavior, regardless of its breed.
This happens when a dog has been proven to be a risk to the public, other animals or protected wildlife.
If Animal Control Officers classify your dog as menacing, we issue you with a notice of your dog’s classification. Your dog must then be:

  • muzzled in public except when in a vehicle or cage.
  • neutered or certified unfit to be neutered within one month of being classified as menacing due to behavior.

If your dog has been classified as menacing due to its breed, we strongly recommend that you have your dog desexed. Please ask advice on how we might be able to assist in helping you get your dog desexed.

Funding Avaliable to de-sex dogs classed as ‘menacing’

In 2017 the government made funds available to have all dogs classified as Menacing under the Dog Control Act, de-sexed at no charge to the dog owner. If you are the owner of a menacing breed you would have received an information letter sent to your address notifying you of this offer. Please note that these funds are only to be used to de-sex dogs classified as menacing under section 33 of the Dog Control Act, it does not apply to other breeds of dogs.

If you are the owner of a dog that has been classified as Menacing under the Dog Control Act, we advise you to take the opportunity to get your dog(s) de-sexed free of charge. To find out more and make an appointment please contact a Council Office or speak with a Compliance Officer.