Is annual pet registration a revenue rort?

LETTER TO THE EDITOR:

I WAS surprised recently, when I received a renewal notice for the registration of my cat.

After initially registering my cat in the Wellington Shire 12 months ago, I guess I didn’t fully read the terms and conditions.

I had assumed it was like my home state of New South Wales, where pet registration (cat) was for the life of the animal.

Wellington Shire annual costs are $38 for a desexed cat/dog, $115 for a non-desexed pet, or 50 per cent of that applicable fee on a pension concession.

So what does our money buy?

How many people are paying? Statistics from the Victorian Agriculture department indicate state pet registration figures from 2007-2011, with numbers rising rapidly.

In 2011 667,566 dogs were registered and 223,037 cats. That is 890,592 registered cats and dogs.

Even if we consider the minimum fee of $38 per animal, with 20 per cent of the maximum number being on pension concessions, the amount grossed per year is approximately $30.5 million dollars.

This doesn’t include funds obtained through pet release fees ($150) and fines issued for failing to re-register your pet.

I suggest that the annual fee, set at its current value is particularly high especially for multi-pet homes.

This serves as a disincentive to register pets.

Resulting more displaced pets being unregistered.

Requiring increased staffing of rangers and animal shelter workers.

This means the fees will continue rising for capture release fees and registration fees (evidenced by the removal of the concession for microchipped pets in 2013).

As a pet owner I fear that our input (at the very minimum) of $30.5 million dollars a year would be better spent in subsidising the cost of registrations, or making them more expensive on a one off occasion.

This will encourage the owners to register, leading to fewer animals making it to the shelters, reducing workload and allowing capture release fees to decrease.

If capture release fees decrease, the pet owners may be more likely to pay the amount, again, resulting in fewer animals at the shelter.

This is all about getting animals off the streets, out of the shelters, and back into their homes.

Get more animals registered by lowering, or changing the registration annual renewals.