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New domestic animal management plan for shire

Dog - Belle

Wednesday 8 November 2017

Mount Alexander Shire Council has adopted a four-year domestic animal management plan, which guides the priorities for managing pets in the shire.

The plan was developed with feedback from more than 150 people who responded to an animal management survey earlier this year.

The plan includes an action to investigate and locate a site for the construction of an off-lead dog park by mid next year.

Council intended to locate an off-lead dog park at the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens but it was unable to proceed due to the presence of the threatened Eltham Copper Butterfly.

The new domestic animal management plan includes a commitment to investigate a cat curfew.

“Around 80 per cent of cat incidents occur at night. This includes getting lost, being hit by a car or becoming injured in fights,” said Rebecca Stockfeld, Acting Director Sustainable Development, Mount Alexander Shire Council.

“In addition to killing wildlife, wandering cats can also be a nuisance to neighbours by spraying, fighting, yowling and digging in gardens,” said Ms Stockfeld.

“Curfews have successfully been introduced in many shires and we will work with the community to determine our approach,” she said.

The plan also emphasises the importance of proactively sharing information about responsible pet ownership. This includes promoting animal registration and de-sexing, and working towards reducing the number of dog attacks and nuisance behaviour.

“We continue to have a number of anti-barking citronella collars for hire along with barking dog kits for owners and complainants. Cat traps are also for hire for a small fee,” said Ms Stockfeld.

Council will continue its partnership with local vet clinics and the RSPCA to offer subsidised pet de-sexing for concession card holders in the shire.

The plan also outlines the introduction of social media to alert the community when officers find stray animals.

“If you have lost your pet keep an eye on Council’s Facebook page, or call Council on 5471 1700 to report a lost or found animal,” said Ms Stockfeld.

To promote responsible pet ownership Council recently installed additional dog bag dispensers around the shire. Dispensers are now located in Newstead, Harcourt, Elphinstone, Baringhup, Castlemaine, Maldon and Chewton.

The Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017-2021 is available at the Plans and Strategies page of Council’s website.

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