Responsible dog owner status

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

Dog owners eligible to be classified as a Responsible Dog Owner must have:

  • a record of good and responsible dog ownership
  • consistent and timely payment of dog registration fees
  • a history of compliance with relevant legal requirements.

Get offically recognised as a responsible dog owner

Applications must be made prior to 30 April, and if granted, registration must be paid in full before the end of June.

Responsible dog owner application criteria

A dog owner must apply for the status, and meet the following criteria.

The dog owner must: 

  • have been the registered owner of a dog and have resided in the Christchurch City Council district for at least 12 months
  • have paid dog registration fees on or before 30 June for the last two years
  • have all dogs micro-chipped in accordance with the Dog Control Act, including providing the microchip number to the Council
  • have a licence to keep multiple dogs on their property (if applicable)
  • inform the Council of any dog registration or residential address changes, including information on the death, sale, or transfer of any dogs, and including the birth of any pups.

The dog owner must have a property at which the dog resides that:

  • is suitably fenced and gated to contain the dog
  • allows dog-free access to a door of the dwelling for authorised callers.

The owner must have complied with the requirements of the Dog Control Act 1996 and the current Christchurch City Council Dog Control Bylaw, and must not, in the last two years, have:    

  • had a dog that has been found at large, been uncontrolled, or been chased, returned or impounded by Council Animal Management staff
  • been issued with a warning notice or infringement notice for any dog-related offence
  • been prosecuted for any dog-related offence.

Owners of dogs classified as 'menacing by breed' under Dog Control Act may be considered for Responsible Dog Owner status, provided all criteria are strictly met.  Owners of dogs classified as 'menacing by deed' will generally not be eligible, but may be considered if there are extenuating circumstances.

Owners of dogs classified as 'dangerous' under the Dog Control Act are not eligible to apply for Responsible Dog Owner status. If they cease to be the owner of such a dog, they may then be considered.

Responsible dog owner conditions

A dog owner seeking Responsible Dog Owner status must meet the above application criteria, and apply for the status online or at a Council service centre.

Applications must be received and approved prior to 30 April in any year to enable the successful applicant to gain Responsible Dog Owner status for the dog registration year commencing 1 July.

All dog(s) owned or kept by the applicant must be controlled in accordance with the Dog Control Act 1996 and with the current Council Dog Control Bylaw.

The Council reserves the right to carry out random property inspections (in accordance with the Dog Control Act) to ensure compliance.

Any breach of the criteria and conditions of this policy will lead to the immediate withdrawal of Responsible Dog Owner status.

Should Responsible Dog Owner status be withdrawn because the criteria and conditions of this policy have been breached, the owner may not apply for, or be considered for, the status again until two years after the date of withdrawal.

Any change of residential address or dog registration details must be notified in writing, or by email, online or phone to the Council within 14 days.

Responsible dog owner fees must be paid by 30 June

The reduced fee for dog owners that have obtained Responsible Dog Owner status is required to be paid by 30 June each year.

Failure to pay by 30 June will cause the Responsible Dog Owner status to be lost, and the owner will then be ineligible to obtain the status again for two years, and will have to pay the standard dog registration fee.