Pet owners in the Eurobodalla Shire Council who do not have their cats desexed by four months of age, and people who own restricted and dangerous dogs in the area, will be required to pay for new annual permits in addition to their pet’s registration, in changes introduced by the NSW Government on 1 July, 2020.
Existing lifetime registration fees for non-desexed dogs are $216, which reduces to $60 if they are desexed. Cat owners with non-desexed felines will be required to pay an $80 annual permit on top of a $50 lifetime registration fee.
Owners of dogs of a restricted breed, or which are formally declared to be dangerous, will also be required to pay a $195 annual permit in addition to the one-off lifetime pet registration fee.
The NSW Government said the move is designed to serve as further disincentive to owning high-risk dogs and to encourage owners to better manage the behaviour of their animal.
The state government also claims the move creates a stronger incentive to desex cats to improve their health and wellbeing; to help ease the burden on pounds and shelters; to reduce euthanasia rates; and address concerns about feral, stray and roaming cats and their effect on wildlife.
Exemptions are in place for cats registered before 1 July, 2020, those kept for breeding purposes by members of recognised breeding bodies, and cats that cannot be desexed for medical reasons.
A council spokesperson said vets can provide reasoning as to why an animal should not be desexed at four months of age, and can update the pet registry should they deem it appropriate. When selling cats and dogs from council’s animal shelter, council will provide new owners with a desexing voucher – from the RSPCA or Animal Welfare League NSW – to facilitate desexing of animals.
The spokesperson also said council educates pet owners through its website, media releases and other communication channels about responsible pet ownership, including the importance of microchipping, registering and desexing their pet.
In September, Animal Welfare League NSW – through the National Desexing Network – will give pet owners in financial need access to low-cost desexing. This usually happens in July each year but has been pushed back for 2020.
Revenue from the new fees will go directly to the NSW Government’s Companion Animals Fund, which pays for companion animal management by local councils, including pounds and shelters, ranger services, dog recreation areas, and education and awareness programs. It also operates the NSW Pet Registry and carries out responsible pet ownership initiatives.
Annual permits are available from the NSW Pet Registry website or through Eurobodalla Shire Council.
For more information about owning a pet in Eurobodalla, visit the council’s website.