A CORGI enthusiast should give up his legal campaign against a $22.50 Wodonga Council dog fee and pay up, a former offsider says.
President of the Wodonga Ratepayers’ Association Ian Deegan served alongside renegade pet owner Jeffrey Sill, when the latter was secretary of the group.
Mr Deegan said Sill had tried four years ago to have the association support his fight against the fee, which has since seen him face-off with Wodonga Council in four types of court.
“He was secretary of the association and then he quit because we wouldn’t support it,” Mr Deegan said.
“We said ‘it’s beyond us’ and no-one had the legal means to challenge it and it’s out of our realm.”
Sill argues Wodonga Council is unable to apply a dog registration fee because it is not constitutionally valid.
The city fined him $289 in 2014 for not paying for Eckles the corgi and since then the matter has been through the Magistrates, County and Supreme Courts before a ruling in the Supreme Court of Appeal last week.
Justice David Beach said then Sill’s case was “futile” and “totally without merit”.
Despite that slap down, Sill told The Border Mail he was committed to not paying the fee, fine and at least $9000 in legal costs that he owes Wodonga Council and had High Court plans.
But Mr Deegan believes it is time for Sill to heed the judiciary and pay the fine.
“I think he should accept it,” Mr Deegan said.
“He would be better off paying it and then questioning it, but he doesn’t care it’s only $200, it’s the principle to him.
“He firmly believes the council is not constitutional.”
When asked for details about what the council was doing to recover ratepayers’ money lost through the saga, the city would not go into detail.
“Any debt owing to the council follows a process where in it is referred to the council’s debt collection agency for follow-up but due to privacy concerns, the council does not discuss individual cases,” a council spokeswoman said.
Mr Deegan said that the council needed to pursue the liability in the face of Sill’s hostility.
“I don’t believe council can back out because it would open the floodgates (to other non-payers),” Mr Deegan said.
Wodonga’s city councillors have not formally discussed Sill’s debt.