The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit TUESDAY, AUGUST 6, 1889 SHEPHERDS' DOGS.
Those who follow tho occupation of shepherds, have a griovanco m that tho dog tax falls upon them with undue severity, m many parts of the colony m which the County Councils declino to avail themselves of the power given them by law to reduco the tax m the case of shepherds and rabbiters dogs. The tax i for oxamplo m Waitaki county is five shillings per dog, and m Waimate county and some other districts tho full maximum allowed by law,namoly ton shillings. ]n a memorial addressed to certain members of tho House, which lies beforo us, some thirty-ono shepherds protest against this state of things, setting out their case as follows, namely : — Firstly, That tho present limit allowed to County Councils, fixing tho amount of tax to bo levied on lonafidc shepherds' dogs, is too high, and should be reduced to one third or ono fourth ; secondly, that the maximum rate of tax, namely ten shillings per dog, imposed by certain County Councils, presses too heavily and unfairly on a numerous but distinct section of the electors, who do not receive higher remuneration for thoir labor than the majority of other hands employed on country stations at a yearly wage. They advance the following reasons for thoso contentions :— -Thoy say that shopherds employed m high mountain districts canuot satisfactorily -peiform tho work entrusted to them without tho assistanco of not less than four dogs ; low country shepherds may manage to discharge their duties with two, and tho average number of dogs required may therefore bo set down at \ three per man. Ihe compulsory tax on these is thus at the maximum rate thirty shillings ; tho average wages of shepherds do not exceed £60 por year, and tbe amount of taxation as calculated above is therefore equivalent to t a dii.ect ii «omc tax of sixpence m tho £ — a tax which wo consider excessive m relation to such income. They go on to point out; that their grievanco is tho greater m that they have taxation without representation, as they have not votes m Coanty County Council elections. Their case is very well stated, and wo think it one which requires relief and are glad therefore to see that there is a Bill beforo the 110 isg which will give them the remedy they desire, and will also provide for the caso of drovers and rabbiters. The following are tho terms of tho Bill referred to : — l. fchort Title. 2. For tho purpose of this Act the words •• shepberd " and "driver" shall respectively mean any person employed upon wages, salary, or fee m Iho capacity of a shepherd or as a driver of sheep or cattle, and tho word ' rahbitor " shall mean a person employed up wages or contract m the destruction ot rabbits. 8. Not withstanding anything contained m Iho •' Dog registration Act, 1880 ; or tho " Dog Registration Act Amendment Aot, 1882," any shepherd or driver, upon making the declaration prescribed , m tho last mentioned Act, shall bu entitled to havo any dog or number of dogs not exceeding four registered upon payment of a feo not exceeding two shillings and sixpence each ; and any rabbitor shall bo entitled, upon making such declaration as aforesaid, lo have any dog or number of (ioga kept for tho exclusive purpose pf rabbiting registered upon payment of a fee of ono shilling per dog. Owing to tho upset of arrangements caused by tho stonewall tho Bill has lost its place on the order paper, but if it should be found possible to get it brought on for its next stage, that of Committee, it appears likely to paps, with very possibly an addition enabling an increased fuo to bo charged for sporting dogs, as a counteipoiso to tho loss of revonuo which tho other provisions will involve.