Dog trainer Jack Dwan, with his registered working kelpies Cagella Bidgee and Cagella Skeeter.
Dog trainer Jack Dwan, with his registered working kelpies Cagella Bidgee and Cagella Skeeter.

Rego law will harm dog business

A CLICK of the tongue and she knows exactly what he wants. They’re more than just mates but later this year their relationship will be tested outside the competition ring.

Working dog whisperer Jack Dwan of Elwanvale Working Dogs has been training dogs like Skeeter and Bidgee for decades but fears the sport will hurt under new dog registration fees which come into effect December 10.

“It’s a sport and my hobby, I’m retired and don’t make any money out of training working dogs but if you have a few dogs to register it’s going to cost us hundreds,” Mr Dwan said.

“This could spell the end of sheep dog trialing as a lot of competitors are retirees.”

For Skeeter and Bidgee alone Mr Dwan will have to fork out $220 annually to keep his dogs.

Working dogs do not have to be registered with the Southern Downs Regional Council (SDRC) but come December SDRC local laws co-ordinator Shane Hattersley said all dogs must be registered.

“Once a working dog retires it no longer fits under the definition of working dog therefore becomes a pet and would require registration,” Mr Hattersley said.

“SDRC does not have a say in the registration of cats and dogs – it is state-imposed legislation and while council may not agree with part of the requirements of the new legislation – it is legislation.

“There is nothing SDRC can do other than enforce the issue. Council has no ability to opt out of these provisions.”

Mr Hattersley said a ‘working dog’ is defined as: A dog kept on rural land by an owner who is the primary producer – or a person engaged or employed by a primary producer – for the purpose of or being trained in droving, protecting, tending, or working stock.

“Should a person in a settled area or on land of less than 10,000sq m have more than one dog they are to apply for a two dog permit ($65 no annual renewal fee,” he said.

“For people with two dogs in a residential area – providing they have a two dog permit – or in a rural area on land more than 10,001sq m they will all require to be registered after December 10.

“People must register any dog older than 12 weeks within 14 days or an infringement notice can be issued.”

Dog fees

  • De-sexed – $30 (standard), $15 (discounted)
  • Not de-sexed – $110 (standard), $95 (discounted)
  • Working dog registration will come into effect on December 10
  • Currently all cats and pet dogs must be registered


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