Major overhaul takes pressure off cash-strapped dog owners
WELCOMING her new best mate just got easier for Colleen Austin.
The 87-year-old Maryborough resident recently got her miniature fox terrier, Beau, after the unexpected death of her dog, Coops.
As a senior pensioner, Mrs Austin is one of the residents who will most benefit most from a major overhaul to dog registration processes.
Under the new system, announced yesterday by the council, first time dog registrations will be free from July 1.
In addition, concessions will be made available for all pensioners, veterans and repatriation health card holders.
These changes take effect from today.
Mrs Austin said the free registration and concession felt like a weight had been lifted, with one less bill to worry about.
"People when they are elderly have a lot to pay for and there can be a lot of bills when you get a new dog," she said.
"All the vaccinations, worm and flea tablets, looking after their nails."
Councillor Paul Truscott said the free registration initiative was a "huge incentive" for people to register their animals.
"There is still the requirement to microchip and desex, but first time registration on the Fraser Coast, no matter the age of the animal, is free," Cr Truscott said.
"Registered dogs can be reunited with their owners very quickly which helps ensure that they don't stay long in the pound and are returned home as quickly as possible if they stray."
Councillor Zane O'Keefe added that the new concessions on pet registration brought the system in line with rates concessions.
"The council has moved away from the early payment discount in favour of offering everyone a standard fee for payment," Cr O'Keefe said.
"The early payment discount was really a penalty for people who could not pay before the earlier due date.
"The new system is more equitable as everyone pays the same fees for the services.
"And, in line with rates payments, concessions will be targeted to those most in need."
He said the changes would make financial assistance available for more pet owners.
"Single parents will now be eligible for the discount as well as seniors," Cr O'Keefe said.
The registration fees go toward operating the council's animal management team.
There are 20,324 registered dogs on the Fraser Coast.
The Queensland Pensioner Concession Card is automatically issued to:
- All social security pensioners - Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Wife Pension, Widow B Pension, Bereavement Allowance, Parenting Payment (single), and Carer Payment;
- Department of Veterans' Affairs service pensioners and war widows receiving an income support supplement;
- Recipients of Newstart Allowance, Partner Allowance, Sickness Allowance, Widow Allowance, Special Benefit and Parenting Payment (partnered) who are aged 60 years or over and have been in continuous receipt of payment for at least 9 months;
- Recipients of Parenting Payment (partnered) with a partial capacity to work;
- Recipients of Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance (jobseeker) who have a partial capacity to work or who are the single principal carer of a dependent child; and
- Participants of the Pension Loans Scheme who are qualified to receive a part-rate pension and certain Community Development Employment Project participants.