COUNCIL is cracking down on unregistered dogs and cats, doorknocking on houses across the city checking for non-compliant pet owners.
The program was the subject of a lively debate at council on Wednesday, with three councillors objecting and calling it a big brother approach, potentially intimidating and a step too far.
The crackdown on cats will run from August 19 to November 18 and December 2 until March 1, while dogs will be targeted from August 19 to February 18.
Cr Julie Talty said that people thought the inspection programs, which had been carried out previously, were a step too far.
Cr Mark Edwards said he was concerned that council would be seen as adopting a big brother position.
Cr Lance Hewlett said elderly people could find the process intimidating and people valued their privacy.
"Education is the best way," he said.
Mayor Karen Williams said that the inspections had been carried out since before she became a councillor more than 15 years ago.
Cr Wendy Boglary said the program had been beneficial and was part of an education process.
A council report said officers could access the front door and surrounding garden areas of a house and a business premises by way of normal public access.
The program would be conducted between 8am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
"The purpose of the systematic inspection program is to verify council's animal registration records, obtain new registrations, obtain payment for out of date animal registrations and to issue penalty infringement notices to cat and dog owners who fail to renew their animal's registration," the report said.
A council officer said the program was not meant to be a big brother approach.
Officers would knock on doors and talk to people, usually giving 14 days to comply if pets were unregistered.
People who had a record of having unregistered animals could be dealt with differently.
The officer said that it was rare for council staff to enter a property to look at dogs although officers had authority to do so.
Crs Edwards, Talty and Hewlett voted against the program.
What do you think about council's inspection program? What else could council do to ensure that cat and dog owners register their pets?
Email email@example.com. Include your full name, address and phone number. Your letter may be published in our letters to the editor section.