The Kojonup Shire Council is set to waive registration fees for life for some dogs in the shire as part of a push to increase pet sterilisation across WA. Councillors voted at their meeting held at Memorial Hall on April 12 to approve the council’s participation in a RSPCA pilot program targeting low-income earners. The organisation’s pilot Pet Sterilisation Program will give people with a valid WA Seniors Card, Pensioner Concession Card or Health Care Card a 75 per cent discount on sterilisation costs for dogs and cats, as well as free microchipping as participating veterinary clinics. The RSPCA requested the council contribute to the program by offering participants free lifetime registration for their cats and dogs. In a letter written to the council’s chief executive Grant Thompson on March 16, RSPCA WA chief executive Ben Cave said the failure of some pet owners to sterilise, microchip and register their dogs and cats led to poor welfare outcomes for the animals as well as increased workload and costs for councils. “Our own work under the Animal Welfare Act indicates that pet owners who lack funds are most likely to fail to comply with these needs for their animals,” he said. In a report to councillors, Kojonup senior ranger Stephanie Swain said the council was entitled to waive registration fees for dogs under State Government legislation, but it was not entitled to do the same for cats. “Should the council adopt this support, it will only be offered to participants who own dogs and not cats, due to our legislative binding,” she said. Ms Swain noted in her report the RSPCA had requested Kojonup Veterinary Hospital’s involvement in the sterilisation program but was yet to receive a response. She said the program would enable the council to build a relationship with the RSPCA and reduce the financial burden on dog owners suffering from financial hardship. “It will also reduce the amount of offences being committed for unregistered dogs in the community and will assist the ranger in reuniting owners of wandering dogs,” Ms Swain said. There was no debate on the proposal when it was put to the council, with all councillors agreeing to support the program. The changes are expected to be implemented later this year.