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Dogs and Animals

Responsible dog ownership in the Mackenzie District.

Dogs and Animals

Council provides and assists with animal control services for the community, specifically with dogs.

This can take the form of advice and assistance, dog registrations, complaints, and problem behaviours.

The Mackenzie District is a great place to have a dog, as a pet, rural or working dog. There are many dog friendly public spaces where they can be walked and exercised.

It is important to have control of your dog, whether it is on or off the lead, considering other adults and children – some of whom may be nervous around dogs. It is best practice to take care around dogs, as dogs can potentially bite, annoy, frighten, or injure others. If you do not think that you are able to keep control of a dog when it is off its lead, it is always safer to keep the dog on its lead.

By keeping dogs under control, problems can be prevented from occurring. Taking dogs to obedience training can help, however if the dog displays problem behaviour, you can contact a dog behavioural specialist to assist you in trying to alleviate these issues.

All dogs within the Mackenzie District must be registered with Council on 1 July every year or when they turn three months of age. Registration is due on 1 July, to be paid by 31 August.

New dog owners are required to fill in the dog registration form.

Fees are discounted for dogs that are neutered or spayed, or if you have ‘Selected Owner Status’ – for which you are eligible to be considered for after the first registration.

Owners wishing to claim a reduced fee for neutered dogs must produce a certificate from a registered veterinarian certifying that the dog has been neutered.

Dog Registration Form – Paper copies

Paper copies are available from Council offices at Fairlie and Twizel, and online.

Once filled out, the form is sent to:

Mackenzie District Council,
PO Box 52
Fairlie 7949

Payments can be done online, or in person at Council offices.


It is an offence to keep a dog older than 3 months which is unregistered. On conviction, a court may impose a fine of up to $3,000.

It is an offence, when applying for the registration of a dog, to make any written statement knowing that statement to be false.

The registration fee covers the dog registration tag, and a number of aspects of dog control, including:

  • Implementing, monitoring and enforcing dog control policy and law
  • Investigating and resolving dog complaints
  • Promotion of better care and control of dogs
  • Education around safety around dogs and bite prevention
  • Upkeep of dog administration (e.g. registration database)
  • The provision of care and facilities for impounded dogs

The collar tag will be issued upon receipt of your registration fee and any other charges due.

Registration fees include goods and services tax.

Renewal Notices

Renewal notices are mailed out in mid June each year to the mailing address contained in your registration records.

If any dog is first required to be registered after 1 August in any registration year, the fee shall be 1/12th of the annual fee for each complete month remaining in the registration year after the date of such registration.

Replacement discs and tags may be obtained from the Mackenzie District Council.

Dogs not wearing a collar with a current registration label or disc attached will, until the contrary is proved, be treated as unregistered.

If any dog over the age of 3 months is found not wearing a collar with a current registration label or disc attached, on land or premises other than its owner's land or premises, or in any public place, the dog may be seized and impounded.

Change of address

If you change your address it is important you notify Council of this. Check with Customer Services if you do not receive your renewal notice by 30 June to avoid non-renewal.

Change of ownership

On change of ownership of any registered dog, both the previous owner and the new owner must, within 14 days, give written notice to the [territorial authority or authorities], of the change of ownership and the residential address of the new owner and the address at which the dog will be kept, along with full contact details.

It is an offence not to comply with this requirement. On conviction, a court may impose a fine of up to $500.

If the owner's address is changed within the district, the owner must, within 14 days, give written notice of the change to the Mackenzie District Council.

Moving Dogs between districts

If any dog is transferred to and kept in the district of another territorial authority, other than the one in which it has been kept, for 1 month or more, the owner must, within 6 weeks of the transfer, give written notice of the transfer to both territorial authorities, setting out the address at which the dog will be kept.

It is an offence not to comply with this requirement. On conviction, a court may impose a fine of up to $500.

Death of a registered dog

If the fee for the registration of a dog is paid and that dog dies, a refund will be made on request as follows:

  • where a dog dies before the commencement of the year, the full fee will be refunded:
  • where the dog dies during the year, 1/12th of the annual fee for each complete month remaining in the registration year after the date of application for a refund will be refunded.

Control of dogs

Sections 52, 53 and 65, Dog Control Act 1996

The owner of a dog must keep the dog under control at all times and, when in a public place, must use or carry a leash at all times.

A dog will be treated as not being under control:

  • if it is found at large on any land or premises other than a public place or a private way without the consent (express or implied) of the occupier or person in charge of the land or the premises; or
  • if it is found at large in any public place or in any private way in contravention of any regulations or bylaw.

You will commit an offence and be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $3,000 or an infringement fee of $300 if you fail to comply with this provision.

No person shall cause, permit, suffer or allow any dog of which that person is the owner to enter or remain in any public place unless the dog is kept under continual and sufficient control; which means that the dog is kept leashed at all times by a person over the age of nine years.

The owner of every dog shall at all times keep and prevent the dog(s) from wandering or being at large, in or upon any public place, without being under effective control

Obligations of dog owner generally

Section 54, Dog Control Act 1996

The owner of a dog must

  • ensure that the dog receives proper care and attention and is supplied with proper and sufficient food, water, and shelter; and
  • ensure that the dog receives adequate exercise.

You will commit an offence and be liable on conviction to imprisonment for up to 3 months or to a fine not exceeding $5,000 if you fail to comply with this provision.

Obligations of dog owner on owner's property

Sections 52A and 65, Dog Control Act 1996 (from 1 June 2004)

The owner of a dog must ensure, when the dog is on land or premises occupied by the owner,

  • that the dog is under the direct control of a person; or
  • that the dog is confined within the land or premises in such a way that it cannot freely leave the land or premises.

You will commit an offence and be liable on conviction to a fine of $3,000 or an infringement fee of $300 if you fail to comply with this provision. In addition, a dog control officer or dog ranger may seize and impound the dog.

Please note: the above requirements relate to the Dog Control Act 1996. The Mackenzie District Council Dog Control Policy and Bylaw identifies various specific areas in our district which are set aside as Dog Exercise Areas or Leash Control Areas or Dog Prohibited Areas. Please refer to the Bylaw so you are aware of those requirements.


From 1 July 2006 new legislation came into effect meaning all new puppies need to be microchipped within two months of when they are registered.

Your dog can be microchipped by any vet, and a verification certificate will be issued, which must be signed by a Veterinarian or Dog Control Officer and brought or sent to Council. Farm dogs used solely or principally for herding and driving stock are exempt from microchipping.

You will also need to microchip your dog if:

  • You are registering your dog in New Zealand for the first time (this mainly applies to puppies).
  • Your dog is classified as dangerous.
  • Your dog is classified as menacing.
  • Your unregistered dog is impounded for the first time from 1 July 2006.
  • Your registered dog has been impounded for the second time from 1 July 2006.

National Dog Database

Dog registration fees now include a proportion of the levy that every Territorial Authority is required to pay for the administration of the National Dog Database. This levy is adjusted annually and this adjustment will be reflected in future fees set for dog registration.

A 'wandering dog' is a stray dog that roams outside its property without a leash and is not controlled by its owner.

Wandering dogs have the following potential consequences, in that they may:

  • Cause a nuisance or anxiety to another person or animal. 
    • Warnings may be issued to owners about dogs roaming uncontrolled and being aggressive to members of the public.
  • Increase the risk of dog attacks and have the potential to put lives in jeopardy.
    • If uncontrolled, they can harm or kill farm stock.
    • The land owner has the right to destroy any dog that has been found attacking stock.
  • Pick up or spread diseases.
  • Increase the likelihood of the dog being killed or injured in a vehicle accident with increased cost to the owner and/or the ratepayer.
  • Increase in administration cost to Council, and in effect the ratepayer, to administer complaints about wandering dogs.
  • Be captured by a dog control officer with significant fines being imposed as a result.

Public areas for dogs in the Mackenzie District - Zoom in to view the areas for Fairlie, Tekapo and Twizel.

View full screen


Dog control Fairlie


Dog control Tekapo


Dog control Twizel


  Dog Exercise Areas
  Dog Leash Control Area

Register a dog

Register and amend details for your dog here.

Application for Responsible Dog Owner Status

The Responsible Dog Owner Status is a special dog ownership status that recognizes good, responsible dog owners and entitles them to a reduced annual dog registration fee.

Fees and Charges

Costs related to dogs, and stock control in the Mackenzie District.

Should you have any dog queries, contact the Mackenzie District Council Animal Warden:

0800 685 8514