Townsville City Council will be introducing a new simplified system for animal management and registration.
Collecting your registered dog or approved cat from the animal shelter will be free for the first time it happens, compared with the previous fee of $169.
Pensioners will also be able to register their first de-sexed dog free of charge, and any subsequent de-sexed dogs can be registered for just $15.50.
Mayor Jenny Hill said Council had removed these fees to help reward responsible pet owners.
“We want everyone to register their dogs and we understand that sometimes they can escape,” Cr Hill said.
“Abolishing these fees will hopefully encourage everyone to do the right thing so it is easier for Council to reunite you with your pet.
“It’s one of a number of ways Council is trying to reward pet owners who do the right thing.”
Community Health and Environment Committee Chair Cr Ann-Maree Greaney said Council was making it cheaper for pensioners to keep their pet.
“Council understands how much a pet can be part of a family and we want to make sure we encourage everyone to get their dog registered,” Cr Greaney said.
“It’s really important that pet owners do register their animals because then Council can ensure they remain safe and get returned if they ever get lost.”
Cr Greaney said Council ran a number of successful programs such as Free Microchipping Days to encourage responsible pet ownership.
“We want everyone in the community to be a responsible pet owner and that’s why Council invests in so many of these free programs to ensure that the city’s pets are registered and microchipped,” Cr Greaney said.
“Free microchipping days can save dog and cat owners up to $90 for each animal.”
Council recently paid $1.4 million to the RSPCA as part of the agreement to transition away from providing animal management services in Townsville.
“Council has taken over management of the animal shelter and had solid success in re-homing a large number of the dogs and cats there,” Cr Greaney said.
“The agreement between the RSPCA and Council allows both organisations to focus on their core business, with the RSPCA in charge of animal welfare cases and Council responsible for animal management.”