Animal Services

Masterton District Council’s Animal Services are responsible for ensuring that animals are looked after in a humane manner and are not menacing or a nuisance to the public.

For all animal control enquiries or complaints, please contact Animal Services on 06 370 6300 or 06 378 7752 (After Hours).

Dog RegistrationLost and Found Dogs
MicrochippingDog Exercise Areas
Dog Owner ResponsibilitiesFAQs
Responsible Dog OwnersSection 10A Report


Dog Registration


Registering your dog makes it easier for Animal Services to locate, identify and return dogs to their owners. Microchipping also helps with locating and identifying owners in the case of wandering, lost or stolen dogs. Information about your dog is kept in the local and national databases which keep track of dogs whose owners have been charged by any Council or have a history of complaints against them.

All dogs must be registered by 1 July of each year or before the dog is three months old. The registration year is the same across all Councils and runs from 1 July to 30 June every year. This is a legal requirement under Section 36 of the Dog Control Act 1996. All dogs registered for the first time (except working farm dogs) must be microchipped within 2 months of registration.

Why do I pay a dog registration fee?
Registration fees are used to fund dog-related services, such as dealing with dog attacks, barking, straying and other complaints.

Registration fees provide funds for:

  • Promoting better care and control of animals
  • Responding to reports of uncontrolled dogs
  • Receiving and caring for abandoned and impounded dogs
  • Monitoring and enforcing the dog control bylaws and policy
  • Implementing the Dog Control Act 1996
  • Taking action against owners of unregistered and uncontrolled dogs
  • Providing information and education to local schools and communities


What happens if I don’t register my dogs?
You will be issued with a $300 infringement fee upon being found with an unregistered dog. The information will be lodged in court, and you could be fined up to $3000. If your dog remains unregistered, you may be issued with more $300 fines, or your dog could be uplifted and impounded. If it remains unregistered, it will be disposed of by Council staff and costs charged to you.

Why is it compulsory to supply my date of birth when registering my dog?
Your date of birth is required to enable us to distinguish your records from those of other people with the same name. Certainty of identification is required in the enforcement of the provisions of the Dog Control Act 1996.


Paying Your Dog Registration

Dog registration is an annual fee and each year you get a new tag. It is important to make sure your dog wears the tag.

Ways you can pay your dog registration:

  • Here online with a debit or credit card
  • In person at customer service
  • Online banking 03-0687-0271682-000.  The information you need to enter which will appear on our bank statement is:


Dog RegistrationYour Owner NumberYour Dog ID(s)


Fees and Charges
All dog owners must register their dog(s) with the Council in the district where the dog is kept, and all dogs must be registered by 1 July every year. If you are new to the Masterton area, have a new dog or have an unregistered dog, you need to register your dog with the Council immediately or before the dog is three months old. If your dog is registered at another district and you move to Masterton, you can have your dog registration transferred at no cost.


ClassCost – in fullDescription
Urban Entire$132.00Family pet dog, entire
Urban Neutered$81.00Urban neutered dog
Rural dog$81.00First rural or working dog
2nd and sub rural$21.00Second and subsequent working dogs
Dangerous dog*$126.00*Classified as dangerous
Permit application$51.00Permit to keep more than 2 dogs in urban Masterton
Microchip$20.00Microchip for a Masterton registered dog
Surrender for EuthanasiaActual cost plus 15%

* A dog may be declared menacing or dangerous if Council believes it’s a threat to any person, animal or protected wildlife.
Council must classify a dog as menacing if there are reasonable grounds to believe it belongs predominantly to one of the 5 restricted breeds:

American Pit Bull Terrier
  • Dogo Argentino
Brazilian Fila
  • Perro de Presa Canairo
  • Japanese Tosa


It’s illegal to import any of these restricted breeds or types. Menacing dogs must be muzzled when in public and councils may require them to be neutered. Dangerous dogs must also be muzzled in public, neutered and kept securely fenced on the owner’s property without blocking access to any dwelling.

Responsible Dog Owners

We’re big fans of responsible dog owners and great news we now have a special status just for them. The new Responsible Dog Owner Status means MDC will reward those owners with a discount on registration costs if they meet certain criteria. Take a look at our Factsheet for more information.

Apply to become a responsible dog owner.


A microchip carries a number unique to your dog that works in a similar way to a supermarket bar-code.  It is a transponder that responds to a scanner, it is not a transmitter and has no power source. It is about the size of a grain of rice and is implanted under the animal’s skin between the shoulder blades. This is a simple procedure just like a vaccination.

Which dogs are legally required to be microchipped?
All dogs registered for the first time, except working farm dogs must be microchipped.

  • Also dogs that :
    Have been classified as dangerous or menacing
    Are unregistered and get impounded
    Are registered and get impounded twice

A new puppy or dog registered for the first time (except working farm dogs) must be microchipped within 2 months of first registration.

A dog that has been classified dangerous or menacing must be microchipped within 2 months of being classified.  This is a legal requirement of the Dog Control Act 1996.


What are the benefits of microchipping?

If your dog is lost, stolen or has escaped and strayed, it can easily be identified.  If your dog is stolen, there is nowhere in New Zealand where it cannot be traced if it is scanned.

Our animal services staff can microchip your dog – contact us to make an appointment.


Dog Owner Responsibilities


As a dog owner you have a number of responsibilities. You must:

  • Register your dog.
  • Keep your dog under control at all times.
  • Dogs must be on a leash in urban areas.
  • Carry a leash when you are in rural areas.
  • Ensure your dog receives proper care, food, water, shelter and exercise.
  • Clean up after your dog in public areas.
  • Make sure your dog does not injure, endanger, intimidate or distress anyone.
  • Accept liability for any damage your dog does.
  • Muzzle your dog in public if it is known to be aggressive.
  • Comply with Council’s bylaws.


Dog owners are required to remove dog faeces from public places. Failure to do so could result in an infringement notice being issued to the value of $300.


Lost and Found Dogs


Dogs that are roaming, waiting to be re-homed, or are found injured are taken to the pound by the Council’s Animal Services Team. They are professionals who ensure the dogs are cared for and fed while in the pound. Current tags and microchips help the officers locate the owners as soon as possible.

The Masterton District Pound is located at 79 Ngaumutawa Road, Masterton.

If your dog has been taken to the pound you will have to pay a fee to release the dog (see below). Contact Animal Services on 06 370 6300 or 06 378 7752 (After Hours) to arrange for the release of the dog. If a dog is not claimed within 7 days it will be re-homed.

First impounding – $66

Second impounding – $122

Subsequent – $153

Sustenance per day – $12

Please refer to the Schedule of Fees (PDF, 256KB)


Current impounds and dogs for rehoming

You can find a list of currently impounded dogs here.

You can find a list of dogs for re-homing here.

*Please note: This system is updated every 48 hours. If you would like to report a missing dog, please contact out Animal Services Team on 06 370 6300.


Dog Exercise Areas

Dogs are required to be on leashes at all times within the urban area and aren’t allowed in children’s play areas or the aviary in Queen Elizabeth Park. Dogs can be exercised at large in the following areas:

  • Henley Lake: All areas controlled by Henley Lake management plan, with the exception of leash restrictions imposed between 1 August and 30 November (inc) and signposted areas.
  • Waipoua River Banks: Up to and including the top of the stop bank.
  • Ritimona Reserve.
  • Waingawa River Bank: South Road.
  • Castlepoint Beach: Beachfront north of DOC Reserve aka the basin.
  • Riversdale Beach: Beachfront and Southern Reserve.
  • Ruamahunga River Bank: Town side north of Te Ore Ore Road bridge.
  • Renall Street Railway Reserve.
  • Upper Manaia Road, Ngaumutawa Rd: From Hillcrest St to Upper Manaia.



Do I need to tell you if I’ve transferred from another district? Yes. You need to register your dog with us. There’s no charge if they were registered with another council.   Can I pay part-year fees? If you got your dog midway through the registration year (1 July – 30 June) you can pay for the months remaining.   Can I get a replacement tag? Yes, a replacement tag costs $5.00 and these are available at our Council Office, 161 Queen Street.   How many dogs can I have? You can have 2 dogs per property in the urban area. You can apply for a permit to keep more than two in the urban area. Contact Animal Services via email for more information or ring 06 370 6300.   I’ve lost my dog. What do I do? Ring Animal Services on 06 378 7752 (24 hours) to see if it has already been picked up and to let the bylaws officers know to keep an eye out for it. You can also check our list of Lost and Found Dogs.   My dog has died. Can I get a refund of my registration fees? Yes. If your dog has died, please notify the council. You’re entitled to a refund of the current year’s registration.  We calculate the refund from the date you notify us that your dog has died until the end of the registration period.   What is microchipping? A microchip is a transponder the size of a grain of rice permanently implanted under the skin between the shoulder blades of your animal. The microchip helps to identify your animal and carries a unique number that can be read by a scanner. Talk to your vet to schedule a microchipping appointment or contact us and a member of the Animal Services team can perform the procedure.   What are the benefits of microchipping? If your dog is lost or stolen, microchips allow it to be easily identified anywhere in NZ so you can be reunited with your dog quickly.

Section 10A Report

Section 10A of the Dog Control Act 1996 requires Councils to report annually on specified dog control activities.  The purpose of this report is to submit the Practices Report for the 2017/2018 registration year for recommendation to Council for adoption.