Next Tuesday Council will consider the Domestic Animal Management Plan 2021-25 for adoption. The overall intent of the policy is to ensure a responsible, safe and sustainable relationship between domestic pets, the community and the environment.

There are around 3100 registered dogs and cats in Hepburn Shire. That includes around 2300 dogs and 800 cats.  All dogs and cats over 3 months old are meant to be micro chipped and registered with Council and renewed in April each year.

Complaints about dogs and cats were mainly about barking, straying and aggressive dogs and straying cats. There are around 200 complaints about dogs each year and 90 complaints about cats.  The Council impounds about 30 dogs and between 20 and 70 cats each year.

The plan deals with registration, nuisance animals, dog attacks, dangerous dogs, over population, and domestic animal businesses. The plan aims to increase community awareness and registration of domestic animals, improve Council education, management and compliance activity and promote a sustainable and harmonious relationship with domestic animals.

An important new objective for the plan is to reduce the impact of wandering cats on the environment. Wandering cats kill native wild life and they are a nuisance to surrounding residents and domestic animals. Part of the plan is introduce a new cat curfew program by July 2023. The intent is to develop a 24 hour cat confinement policy by 2025 following community consultation.

Dogs are often off their leads. They become a nuisance, foul the local environment and can be dangerous. Part of the plan is to establish off lead dog areas and require dogs to be on leads at other times. A master plan for off lead parks is to be implemented in 2024 and 2025.