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Dog ownership fees

Effective from 1 June 2020

All dogs three months of age and older must be registered annually. Failure to register a dog three months of age and older will incur an infringement fine as well as late registration fee. The registration fee will be charged on a pro-rata rate of the yearly fee.

Fee increases 

Council understands that due to Covid 19, the increases in dog registration fees for the 2019-20 year are unlikely to be popular with dog owners.  The decision was not made lightly. To continue to offer a high standard of dog control services there are increased costs that need to be met.  If these costs are not met by dog owners then they must be met by all ratepayers and that is inequitable.  This includes services relating to dog welfare and public safety.

Removal of Good dog owner policy

Following public consultation, Council has removed the Good Dog Owner Policy from 1 July 2020 but retained the $5 discount for neutered dogs. The Good Dog Owner Policy was removed because it has a high administration cost and the requirements for the discount replicate those already legally required by the Dog Control Act. 

 If the Good Dog Owner category was retained,  the fee for standard registrations would have had to rise by $22.50 (from $86 to $108.50).  By removing the Good Dog Owner category the increase to the standard dog registration category is $9.80 (from $86 to 95.80).

 To help with payment, Council has for this year extended the date at which penalties for non-payment apply, to 31 August, as opposed to 31 July in previous years, giving people an extra month to pay. 

Reasons for removing the Good Dog Owner Policy

  • The good dog owner category requirements were the same as those already required by the Dog Control Act, so people were effectively getting a discount for doing something they were legally required to do.
  • There is still a $5 discount for neutered dogs.
  • The cost of the Good Dog Owner policy was high – in terms of administration to run the scheme and the impact on income into the dog control account.
  • If the Good Dog Owner policy had remained in place, the standard fee for an urban dog would increase from $86 to $108.50.
  • Council policy requires 90% of the costs of dog control to be met by dog owners, with only 10% coming from the general rates.
  • The fees adjustment means Council will be meeting this policy

Comparison with TDC

  • Nelson has higher fees than Tasman as we have fewer dogs registered to cover the cost of an equivalent service level.
  • In 2018-19, Nelson had 5901 registered dogs, issued 288 infringement notices, and 1672 dog complaints that were investigated and 288 dogs were impounded.
  • Of the dogs registered in Nelson, 10 were classified as dangerous, and 74 as menacing. There were 22 dog attacks on humans, 64 dog attacks on animals and 68 dog aggression complaints.
  • By comparison, Tasman had 11284 dogs registered, 78 classified as menacing, 20 as dangerous, 190 infringement notices issued and 1456 complaints investigated.
  • Comparisons with other councils can be misleading, as they may have different funding policies, ratepayer base, geographical factors etc that affect the cost of dog control services.

What do these fees pay for?

Services covered by dog registration fees include:

  • Dog control, including impounding wandering dogs, investigating dog attacks, minimising nuisances caused by dogs
  • Responding to a variety of complaints
  • Running the animal shelter
  • Patrols
  • Taking legal action when required
  • Education programmes for adults and children
  • Administration and maintenance of Council database including the annual registration process
  • Dog training and onsite behavioural advice
  • Signage and advertising of dog-related issues
  • Providing dog poo bags


Pro-rata fees

The registration fee is a renewable, annual fee. For new dog owners, the fee is charged on a pro rata rate of the yearly fee.

Pro-rata Dog Registration fees (all GST incl.)
Standard fee
Rural dog fee


95.80 53.50


95.80 53.50


87.70 49.00


79.80 44.60


71.80 40.10


63.80 35.60


55.80 31.20


47.80 26.70


39.90 22.30


31.90 17.80


23.90 13.30


15.90 8.90

If you have had your dog/s microchipped and have not advised the Nelson City Council please attach copy of the microchip certificate/s to your registration form and return. Note: if your dog is neutered (proof from vet required), then a $5.00 discount will be applied to your next annual registration fee and for each year after that.

Late fees - if paid after 31 August:

Category Fee (incl GST)
Police, Seeing eye, Hearing

A late payment penalty of 50 per cent of the registration fee shall apply to all registrations remaining unpaid on 1 September and all dogs unregistered after 1 September can be impounded and incur a further $300.00 infringement fee in addition to any registration fee, plus penalty.

If an owner voluntarily registers a new pup which is older than three months, the standard fee payable is that which was due when the pup was three months old.

If the owner has been warned or served a seven day notice to register, then the fee is the late fee payable or as otherwise stated on the seven day notice.

If an owner has taken ownership of a previously unregistered dog, the fee is that which was due at the time they received the dog (treated as a puppy fee).  The dog would also need to be micro-chipped.

Impound fees

Dog owners pay a fee if their dog is impounded.  Fees increase over the number of offences.

Impounding fees
Fee (incl GST)
First Impounding
Second Impounding
Third and subsequent impoundings
Daily Charge
Overtime Callout Charge
Microchip insertion

Refund information

In the event of a dog dying during the current registration year, part of the fee is refundable. The refund is calculated from the month that Council is informed of the dog's death.

For example, the owner of a dog dying in December but not notifying Council until February receives the refund due in February.

A dog that was registered late and subsequently dies entitles the owner to a refund of the standard fee only.

Infringement fees

All rules under the Dog Control Act, the Dog Control Policy, and the Dog Control Bylaw will be enforced by Council. The penalties for infringing Bylaw regulations are as follows:

Penalties for infringement of Bylaw
Infringement Penalty (incl GST)
Not carrying a leash $100
Not having your dog under control $200
Not carrying a "doggy do" bag $300
Failing to pick up your dog's faeces $300

The penalty for owning a dog involved in a serious attack has increased from a maximum fine of $5,000 to a maximum fine of $20,000 and/or a maximum of up to three months in jail, to a maximum of three years in jail.

Councils may also seize dogs. Dog control officers and dog rangers can seize dogs that have attacked, that have rushed at individuals, that are unregistered, that are without an adequate supply of food or water, or shelter, that wander and are not under control, and whose owners have not met the obligations for keeping a dangerous or menacing dog. A person convicted of owning a dog involved in a serious attack can be banned from owning a dog for up to five years.