Dog ownership fees

Effective from 1 June 2022

2022 dog registration fees will increase by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 4.9% to keep pace with inflation and in line with an increase by CPI to other Council fees and charges. This means a $5.00 increase for a standard urban dog registration fee.

 90% of the cost of dog control is met by dog owners under current Nelson City Council policy, to ensure the bulk of costs fall to dog owners, rather than wider ratepayers. Costs for providing the service include: dog patrols, dealing with dog-related issues and complaints, and providing services like dog poo bags and education programmes. Ratepayers do also contribute to dog control services and meet approximately 10% of the costs, to recognise the wider community benefit of a good dog control service.

Councils across New Zealand have different fees for dog registrations, so a simple price comparison needs more context. For example, Tasman has twice as many dogs registered as Nelson, but far fewer in urban areas. This means contact between different dogs and their owners is more likely in Nelson, and this can increase the number of call-outs and complaints our dog control team has to respond to.

Registering your dog 

All dogs three months of age and older must be registered annually. Failure to register a dog three months of age and older will incur an infringement fine as well as late registration fee. The registration fee will be charged on a pro-rata rate of the yearly fee.

What do these fees pay for?

Services covered by dog registration fees include:

  • Dog control, including impounding wandering dogs, investigating dog attacks, minimising nuisances caused by dogs
  • Responding to a variety of complaints
  • Running the animal shelter
  • Patrols
  • Taking legal action when required
  • Education programmes for adults and children
  • Administration and maintenance of Council database including the annual registration process
  • Dog training and onsite behavioural advice
  • Signage and advertising of dog-related issues
  • Providing dog poo bags

Pro-rata fees

The registration fee is a renewable, annual fee. For new dog owners, the fee is charged on a pro rata rate of the yearly fee.

Pro-rata Dog Registration fees (all GST incl.)
Standard fee
Rural dog fee


102.00 57.00


102.00 57.00


93.50 52.20


85.00 47.50


76.50 42.70


68.00 38.00


59.50 33.20


51.00 28.50


42.50 23.70


34.00 19.00


25.50 14.20


17.00 9.50

If you have had your dog/s microchipped and have not advised the Nelson City Council please attach copy of the microchip certificate/s to your registration form and return. Note: if your dog is neutered (proof from vet required), then a $5.00 discount will be applied to your next annual registration fee and for each year after that.

Late fees - if paid after 31 July:

Category Fee (incl GST)
Police, Seeing eye, Hearing

A late payment penalty of 50 per cent of the registration fee shall apply to all registrations remaining unpaid on 1 August and all dogs unregistered after 1 August can be impounded and incur a further $300.00 infringement fee in addition to any registration fee, plus penalty.

If an owner voluntarily registers a new pup which is older than three months, the standard fee payable is that which was due when the pup was three months old.

If the owner has been warned or served a seven day notice to register, then the fee is the late fee payable or as otherwise stated on the seven day notice.

If an owner has taken ownership of a previously unregistered dog, the fee is that which was due at the time they received the dog (treated as a puppy fee).  The dog would also need to be micro-chipped.

Impound fees

Dog owners pay a fee if their dog is impounded.  Fees increase over the number of offences.

Impounding fees
Fee (incl GST)
First Impounding
Second Impounding
Third and subsequent impoundings
Daily Charge
Overtime Callout Charge
Microchip insertion

Refund information

In the event of a dog dying during the current registration year, part of the fee is refundable. The refund is calculated from the month that Council is informed of the dog's death.

For example, the owner of a dog dying in December but not notifying Council until February receives the refund due in February.

A dog that was registered late and subsequently dies entitles the owner to a refund of the standard fee only.

Infringement fees

All rules under the Dog Control Act, the Dog Control Policy, and the Dog Control Bylaw will be enforced by Council. The penalties for infringing Bylaw regulations are as follows:

Penalties for infringement of Bylaw
Infringement Penalty (incl GST)
Not carrying a leash $100
Not having your dog under control $200
Not carrying a dog poo bag $300
Failing to pick up your dog's faeces $300

The penalty for owning a dog involved in a serious attack has increased from a maximum fine of $5,000 to a maximum fine of $20,000 and/or a maximum of up to three months in jail, to a maximum of three years in jail.

Councils may also seize dogs. Dog control officers and dog rangers can seize dogs that have attacked, that have rushed at individuals, that are unregistered, that are without an adequate supply of food or water, or shelter, that wander and are not under control, and whose owners have not met the obligations for keeping a dangerous or menacing dog. A person convicted of owning a dog involved in a serious attack can be banned from owning a dog for up to five years.