Who let the dogs out?

COUNCIL bureaucrats have been asked to fully explain what went wrong when 22,000 dog owners were sent registration bills and given just a few days to pay.

Cr Tony Williams, chairman of Rockhampton Regional Council's health and regulatory services committee which oversees pet registrations, said yesterday he had asked for a detailed report into the shambles which caused widespread distress to owners.

“I am frustrated and disappointed because this should never have happened,” Cr Williams said yesterday.

“You would think that after three-and-a-half years, our systems would be working smoothly but something went very wrong and I have not yet received a satisfactory explanation.”

He said he was not aware of the problem until complaints from worried dog owners started coming in.

Owners are normally given a month to pay, but thousands of renewal notices were not sent out until a few days before the due date.

“Someone, somewhere must have realised that it was wrong. The bills should never have been sent out,” he said, adding that he had called for a report from chief executive Evan Pardon.

“We need to make sure it never happens again.”

On Tuesday Cr Williams acted to avoid a potential administrative breakdown and the prospect that council offices would be overwhelmed by thousands of dog owners anxious to meet the deadline to avoid a fine.

He issued an apology and made it clear no one would be fined for having an unregistered dog or cat before October. The deadline for registration payments was extended until the end of September.

But despite the speed of his response, the council's reputation has taken a battering.



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