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‘Abusing the system’

PART OF THE TEAM: Wall Flat farmer Sam Martin, with his working dog Blue, claims the 75 per cent rebate on dog registration currently offered by Mid Murray Council. Photo: Emmalie Balnaves-Gale.Mid Murray Council have proposed toremovetheworking dog registration rebate to ensure people “stop abusingthe system”.
Nanjing Night Net

Dog owners could facethe standardregistration fee of$70, compared to the $15 they currently pay, when they register next financial year.

Council CEO Russell Peate said a reasonable number of people were registering their dogs dishonestly.

“People are registering their dogs as working dogs just to get the rebate when they’re not actually working dogs,” he said.

“We’ve got breeds like poodle, miniature schnauser, shihtzuand silky terriercurrently registered as working dogs.”

Across Mid Murray, 464 dogs are registered as working dogs, allowingowners to claim a 75 per cent reduction on their registration rates.

Mr Peate said council were looking at ways to ensure farmers weren’t penalised by the change.

“There is sympathy from councillors for genuine primary producers with genuine working dogs but we have to ensure we don’t have people abusing the system,” he said.

A council report stated thata voluntary rebate wasnot required by council, as all costs relating to a working dog, including registration, weretax deductible and fully refundable.

However, Mr Peate said this only applied if the owner was making a profit and so many local farmers were struggling.

He said council would discuss a more practical system of verifying a sincere registration.

In the past, acouncil officer has beenrequired to view each dog undertaking its work activities to determine whetherit is used primarily for the purpose of herding stock.

Mr Peate said this had proven verytime consuming for Regulatory Services Staff and impractical for the future.

In 2016/17, council received $8,120 in registration fees.

Without the rebate, council’s income would double to $16,240.

Deputy Mayor Kelly Kuhn said the current system was costing council a lot of money.

Mr Peate said the proposal remained on the table for the next council meeting on March 14.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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