We recognise that companion animals play an important role in today’s society and want people to enjoy them, be it for companionship, work, entertainment or sport.
Pets that are well managed cause few problems and rarely come to the attention of council. Unfortunately, it is when animals are acquired with little forethought or for the wrong reasons or when they are left unsupervised, problems occur.
As a result of community concern the Victorian Government introduced its Domestic Animals Act in 1994. The Act and subsequent amendments have a significant impact on the individual pet owners’ responsibilities, including the manner in which cats and dogs now have to be housed and controlled. The Act and its Regulations also cover compulsory registration of all dogs and cats over three months of age and control of animal businesses such as pet shops and animal breeders.
Thankfully the image of “the dog catcher” has gone forever and in its place we have Animal Management Officers whose role is to provide advice, education and assistance and where necessary enforcement of the Act. We no longer see packs of wandering dogs that were common only a few years ago, now it’s rare to see a dog unaccompanied on our streets. Residents are happy to assist officers and will confine stray animals for collection, in the knowledge they will be humanely treated and wherever possible returned to their owners or rehoused to a good home.
While council has been given the responsibility of administering the Act it recognises the need to promote responsible pet ownership and to provide programs that allow for changes in community standards. Our Domestic Animal Management Plan (the Plan) is a base from which Council can take the next step and accommodate change, plan resources and to provide animal services and programs in the future.
Most importantly the goal of the Plan is to achieve a balance between meeting the needs of pet owners and the needs of others in the community.
The Plan was developed in consultation with key stakeholders and adopted by Council on 16 October 2017.