15 October 2020

'Harshly worded' letters have Snowy pet owners barking mad

| Kim Treasure
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Grey cat sitting on shelf.

Pet owners have been upset by strongly worded letters regarding registration. Photo: Kim Treasure.

Snowy Monaro Regional Council has written to the Office of Local Government (OLG) after residents received ‘harshly worded’ letters about annual permit renewals for non-desexed cats and restricted or dangerous dogs.

Residents who received correspondence about changes to annual permit payments under the Companion Animals Act 1998 say the letters came after the 1 October payment cut-off.

“Council is aware the letters advised of large penalties for failing to make payment before the 1 October deadline,” said a council spokesperson. “The standard issue letters were harshly worded, causing distress for some residents. In some instances, the letters contained incorrect information about that resident’s pet(s).

“The OLG’s pet registry was offline for six weeks and this backlog, plus a lack of filters for deceased or missing pets, interstate moves, or cats now desexed, resulted in 1700 letters unnecessarily distributed.”

Council’s ranger services and customer service officers have been helping people with their concerns and have updated the pet registry. Council has also extended the payment deadline for the annual permits until 31 January, 2020.

“Council is sympathetic to the community’s concerns and has written to the OLG to express its disappointment with how the communication was handled,” said the council spokesperson.

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“Council is calling on the OLG to ensure future communication is much clearer and delivered in a more appropriate manner.”

From 1 July, 2020, the NSW Government introduced annual permits for owners of non-desexed cats, restricted dog breeds, and dogs declared to be dangerous.

Owners of cats not desexed by four months of age are required to pay an annual permit of $80 in addition to their one-off lifetime pet registration fee.

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Exemptions are in place for cats that are registered by 1 July, 2020, those kept for breeding purposes by members of recognised breeding bodies, and cats which cannot be desexed for medical reasons.

Owners of dogs of a restricted breed or declared to be dangerous will be required to pay an annual permit of $195 in addition to their one-off lifetime pet registration fee. This applies to dogs that are already registered.

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