More illegal dog-tracking collars intercepted
Despite a clampdown on illegal dog-tracking collars, importers and hunters are continuing to flout the law, with more than 100 devices intercepted this summer.
Chris Brennan, Compliance Manager for the Radio Spectrum Group at the Ministry of Economic Development, says the government is cracking down on illegal dog-tracking devices because they dangerously interfere with other radio transmission services.
“While not all dog-tracking devices are illegal, some of those being imported operate on the same radio frequencies as equipment used by people travelling and working in rural areas, such as forestry workers, Department of Conservation rangers, or search and rescue crew. This spectrum is licensed to those operators,” he says.
“This is an issue we take very seriously. We are particularly concerned that illegal dog-tracking devices could interfere with rescue services in remote areas – for example, a search and rescue crew looking for an injured tramper in the bush.”
Individual hunters using illegal dog-tracking devices risk prosecution. If caught, they could face fines of up to $30,000 and a criminal record. Companies face even bigger fines – a maximum of $200,000.
“Anyone looking to import radio transmitting equipment should first check whether it is acceptable in New Zealand and authorised for a radio licence.”
The dog-tracking collars to be avoided are sold under the Garmin and SportDOG TEK brands, however, all devices should be checked before purchase. Devices should not operate on the 151.820 MHz, 151.880 MHz, 151.940 MHz, 154.570 MHz and 154.600 MHz frequencies.
These frequencies were assigned to landmobile services in the 1970s, decades before their use in the United States for dog-tracking devices. The Ministry published the Prohibited Equipment Notice for Dog Tracking Devices in 2009 to highlight the risk and provide additional controls on supply of the devices. Since then, 35 individuals and companies have been fined or prosecuted to deter people from using or selling the devices.
More than 100 illegal tracking devices have been intercepted since December 2011, with legal action underway by the Ministry. The Ministry also regularly inspects New Zealand websites and suppliers to ensure the illegal transmitters are not marketed and sold here.
For more information, go to the Radio Spectrum website, http://www.rsm.govt.nz
, or call the free helpline 0508 RSM INFO (0508 776 463).