Council responds to community concerns over Companion Animals Act letters

Snowy Monaro Regional Council is working with the community to alleviate concerns over the distribution of letters advising residents of annual permit renewals for non-desexed cats and restricted/dangerous dogs.

Residents who received correspondence through letters issued on behalf of the Office of Local Government, have expressed concerns they received their letters after the October 1 payment cut-off. The letters advised of changes to annual permit payments under the Companion Animals Act 1998

Council is aware the letters advised of large penalties for failing to make payment before the October 1 deadline. 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 Officer have been assisting community members with their concerns and have updated the pet registry. Council has extended the payment deadline for the annual permits until January 31, 2021.

Council is sympathetic of the community's concerns and has written to the OLG to express its disappointment with how the communication was handled. Council is calling on the OLG to ensure future communication is much clearer and delivered in a more appropriate manner.

From July 1, 2020 the NSW State 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 $80 annual permit in addition to their one-off lifetime pet registration fee.

Exemptions are in place for cats that are registered by July 21, 2020, those kept for breeding purposes by members of recognised breeding bodies, and cats which cannot be de-sexed for medical reasons

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

For further assistance, please contact Council's Ranger Services on 1300 345 345.