Owning a dog
Know your obligations
As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to know your obligations and comply with the laws concerning the management of your dog.
The Dog Control Act 1996 sets out the major rules and obligations for dog owners. Its intention is to ensure dogs are well cared for, that accidents, attacks and injuries to people, wildlife, and other animals are minimised and that the potential for dog-related nuisance is reduced. It also sets out penalties for not complying with the Act.
The Act also requires us to develop our own dog control policy and a dog control bylaw.
All dogs must be microchipped within two months of being registered for the first time or prior to being released from the pound. A 15-digit unique number assigned to the microchip helps identify your dog through our registration records and the National Dog Database.
Dogs classified as working dogs, which are used solely or principally for the purpose of herding or driving stock, are exempt from microchipping.
Microchipping may be done by a vet, the SPCA, or you can bring your dog to the pound in Taupō or Turangi during our opening hours, or by appointment, and an officer can implant a microchip for a fee of $25.
If we didn't implant the microchip, please ensure you let us know the microchip number so we can add it to your dog's records.
Changes to your dog's registration details
Update your dog's details
Change your dog's details, including desexing or microchipping details online by logging into your online services account or come in to one of our customer service centres.
We require a copy of the desexing and microchipping certificates as evidence for your owner file. These can be uploaded to the edit dog online form or we can take a copy at our service centre.
Change your contact details
Update your profile details online by logging into your online services account or come in to one of our customer service centres.
Change of ownership
Transfer ownership of your dog to another owner online by logging into your online services account or come in to one of our customer service centres.
If known, please have the name and contact details of the new owner handy when completing the form.
If you are wanting to transfer ownership of a dog classified as dangerous, you must apply to us in writing prior to rehoming the dog. Email your details to email@example.com or complete our Contact Us form online.
Death of a dog
If your dog has died or been put down, you must let us know as soon as you can.
You may be eligible to have part of your registration fee refunded. This can be applied to your dog owner account as a credit or refunded to a nominated bank account. Let us know by logging into your online services account or come in to one of our customer service centres.
Working dogs are used for herding or driving stock, disability assist, security or pest control. We also have specific working dog categories based on recent resolutions passed by council.
If you believe your dog meets the working dog criteria, you can apply to us by filling out our working dog declaration stating your dog is used for this purpose. You may be required demonstrate or provide evidence to support the classification.
Create an account with our online services or log into your existing account to edit your dog's details. If you're unsure if your dog can be classified as working, give us a call on 07 376 0899 to discuss.
Surrender your dog
If you wish to surrender your dog to us, give us a call on 07 376 0899 or place in one of the amnesty cages at the Taupo Pound.
If your dog is impounded by one of our officers and it's microchipped, we'll contact you.
You'll need to pay any impounding, microchipping and registration fees before it can be released.
Fees can be paid by cash or eftpos at our customer service centres in Taupō, Turangi or Mangakino. You can also pay by eftpos at the Taupō pound (we do not accept credit cards at our offices or pound).
Impounded dogs are held for seven days, giving you a chance to come forward and claim your dog. After the seven days have passed, the dog will become our property. We will run behavioural assessments and decide whether the dog is suitable for adoption.
Dangerous and menacing dogs
What is a dangerous dog?
Dangerous dogs are those classed as high risk, usually after an attack or aggressive behaviour that is deemed to be a serious threat to any person, stock, poultry, domestic animal or wildlife.
Dog owners with a classified dangerous dog must:
- keep the dog in a property that is securely fenced and allows safe access to at least one door of the dwelling
- neuter the dog within one month of the classification
- muzzle the dog when it is removed from the fenced area of the property or taken into any public place (even when on a leash)
- control the dog on a leash at all times
- pay the dangerous dog rate for dog registration for the rest of the dog's life, this is 150% of normal registration rate
- obtain written permission from the council before selling or disposing of the dog
- disclose the dangerous dog classification to any new owners if there is a change of ownership
- advise any temporary owner or carer of all the requirements.
A dangerous dog classification lasts for the life of the dog.
What is a menacing dog?
Dogs can be classed as menacing if they are seen or are reported to be posing a threat to any person, stock, poultry, domestic animal or wildlife.
There are also five types of dogs automatically classed as menacing under Schedule 4 of the Dog Control Act 1996:
- Brazilian Fila
- Dogo Argentino
- Japanese Tosa
- Perro de Presa Canario
- American Pit Bull Terrier
A menacing dog must be on a lead and muzzled at all times when in public places to ensure the risk to the public is minimised.
Infringements and offences
We can issue an infringement notice and charge an infringement fee to any person who breaches the Dog Control Act 1996 or our Control of Dogs Bylaw 2021.
You can get an infringement if you do not:
- register your dog
- keep your dog under proper control
- place your dog on a leash when and where required
- remove your dog's droppings from a public place
- let us know of a change of dog ownership.
The infringement fees are set by legislation and vary depending on the offence.
Infringement types and fees are set out in Schedule 1 of the Dog Control Act 1996.
Schedule 1: Infringement offences and fees
Pay a dog infringement
Payments for dog infringements can be made by internet banking or in person at one of our customer service centres.
Be sure to quote your infringement number when paying by internet banking to ensure your payment is allocated to the correct account.
Dispute a dog infringement
To dispute an infringement, complete our online dog infringement explanation form. Provide your details, the details of the infringement and your explanation as to why you wish to dispute this fine.
Our compliance team supervisor will review your explanation and advise the outcome once a decision has been made.