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Responsible Dog Owners

We’re big fans of responsible dog owners and we have a special status just for them. The ‘Responsible Dog Owner Status’ means MDC will reward those owners with a discount on registration costs if they meet certain criteria.

To be eligible to apply:

  • Your dog registration fees must have been paid by 31 July for the previous two years (or, if newly registered in Masterton, able to provide evidence that registration was paid on time to the previous territorial authority).
  • Your dog/s must be desexed. (An exception may be made for certified breeders, at MDC’s discretion).
  • Your dog/s must be kept securely on your property with access to at least one door of the dwelling available without encountering the dog.
  • Your dog’s shelter must comply or exceed the requirements of the Masterton District Council Consolidated Bylaw – Part 7 ‘Control of Dogs’
  • Your dog must be microchipped (if the dog was registered for the first time after 1 July 2006).
  • Your dog has not been the subject of a substantiated complaint or impounded in the previous two years.
  • You have not been issued with an infringement notice in regards to any dogs owned by you in the previous two years.

Note: Rural, menacing by deed and dangerous dogs are not eligible for Responsible Dog Owner (RDO) status.

An application fee of $25 (non-refundable) applies. If you move address a further property check may be required*. Applications for RDO status will be accepted any time during the year but any application received after 31 March will apply to the following registration year (e.g. an application received on 1 June 2018 will not receive a discount until the 2019-2020 registration year).

If a dog owner moves to the Masterton district, and provides evidence that they currently hold RDO status (or equivalent) with another territorial authority, this will be recognised by MDC. An application form must be completed but no further application fee will be payable*.

*If the new property does not meet criteria and further inspections are required a $25 reinspection fee may apply.

RDO status may be revoked if the owner:

  • is convicted of an offence under the Act;
  • is issued with an infringement notice;
  • has their dog impounded;
  • has one or more substantiated complaints within a 24 month period; or
  • fails to pay their registration on time.

Once application is made your application will be processed and an Animal Services team member will contact you to arrange a property inspection. You will be required to be present for the inspection. Applicants granted RDO status will receive a 25% discount off the current registration fees.

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 the 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.


Please make payment via your internet banking account to –

MDC  03-0687-0271682-00

Please include the following details:
Particulars: RDO
Code: Your Owner Number
Reference: 1560707

Responsible Dog Owner Application

Use the following boxes to check you meet all the required criteria.

All dogs I own are microchipped(Required)
My dog registration fees have been paid before 31 July for the past two years(Required)
I have a good dog ownership history – no record of impounding, infringements or justified complaints against my dog/s in the last two years.(Required)
All dogs I own are de-sexed(Required)
No dogs I own are classified as Menacing by Deed or Dangerous.(Required)
My property is fully fenced with a containment area (not necessarily a fully fenced yard/ garden) but suitable to the size of my dog.(Required)
My property has suitable access to a door without entering the area where my dog is kept.(Required)
My dog’s shelter complies with the requirements of the MDC Control of Dogs bylaw.(Required)
I accept the above criteria and $20 online payment has been made according to the details above.(Required)


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 as 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.

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