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Council officers set to enter yards to check on dog rego

JIMMY the maltese terrier's life outside the law came to an end this week, as the $227 council bounty on his unregistered head was lifted.

When his owner, Mel Wolski, saw council notices around Chinchilla warning owners to register their dogs before officers began checking yards, she was quick to cough up the $74 fee to register him.

Since the establishment of the Animal Management Act 2008, Queensland councils have had the power to send a council local laws officer onto private property at any "reasonable time" of the day or night to issue fines for unregistered dogs.

Twice a year the council exercises this power - a power many pet owners like Ms Wolski object to.

"When I saw the posts I went to get him registered first thing in the morning," she said.

"I did not know they could do that.

"I think it's wrong.

"He was already microchipped, so people would know where he was from anyway."

Western Downs Regional Council Mayor Ray Brown said the systematic inspection of homes in all townships in the council area would ensure "equity amongst the community" and see "all persons meet their legislative obligations".

The program was due to start today but the council has promised to hold off until August 26 to give residents a chance to register their dogs.

Once an unregistered dog is found by an officer, secured or not, the $227 fine is non-negotiable.

Spokesperson for Environmental Health Councillor Greg Olm said Local Law Officers would be systematically visiting all properties across the region for the duration of the program, set to finish December 19.

"Council's Local Laws Officers will be checking all residential, multiple occupancy, rural residential and small town properties for compliance," he said.

"Under the provisions of the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008, Local Laws Officers are allowed to exercise additional powers to enter private properties during the period of the Approved Inspection Program.

"However, there are strict rules and regulations that apply to the conduct of the inspections by Local Laws Officers. This includes introducing themselves with photo identification if residents are at home. If however residents aren't at home, Local Laws Officers will only enter a property if there's reasonable suspicion that there are dogs on the property but Council's records show that no dogs are registered at that address.

"The best way to avoid a fine for non-compliance with the Act is to register your dog now, if you haven't already."

Cats are not required to be registered.

For more information visit council's website: http://www.wdrc.qld.gov.au/services/animal_registration.shtml

Topics:  dogs, pets, registration, western downs regional council


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