Domestic Animal Management Plan 2021-2025

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Consultation has concluded

We have developed a draft Domestic Animal Management Plan 2021-2025 (DAMP) following community feedback. 

The draft DAMP will be presented to Council for its consideration at the upcoming Council meeting on Tuesday 24 May 2022 at 7.00pm. The plan incorporates feedback from the community concerning the protection of cat and dog welfare as well as the amenity and safety of our community.

Key priorities of the plan that address issues and suggestions identified by the community included in the plan include: 

  • Dogs off lead/not under owner control
  • Dog waste
  • Dogs barking
  • Wandering cats

Details of the meeting are:

  • Meeting Date:     24 May 2022
  • Meeting Time:     7.00pm
  • Location               Council Chamber, Civic Centre 699 Doncaster Road, Doncaster

More information on Tuesday’s meeting can be found by visiting Council’s website at:

www.mannngham.vic.gov.au/events/council-meeting-24-may-2022

We have developed a draft Domestic Animal Management Plan 2021-2025 (DAMP) following community feedback. 

The draft DAMP will be presented to Council for its consideration at the upcoming Council meeting on Tuesday 24 May 2022 at 7.00pm. The plan incorporates feedback from the community concerning the protection of cat and dog welfare as well as the amenity and safety of our community.

Key priorities of the plan that address issues and suggestions identified by the community included in the plan include: 

  • Dogs off lead/not under owner control
  • Dog waste
  • Dogs barking
  • Wandering cats

Details of the meeting are:

  • Meeting Date:     24 May 2022
  • Meeting Time:     7.00pm
  • Location               Council Chamber, Civic Centre 699 Doncaster Road, Doncaster

More information on Tuesday’s meeting can be found by visiting Council’s website at:

www.mannngham.vic.gov.au/events/council-meeting-24-may-2022

Please post any comments about the draft Domestic Animal Management Plan 2022-2025 here.

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

Your link above does not work. It is confusing a lot of people and I suggest you get it fixed if you want a true reflection of what the community wants.
For community members like me, I did find a link to the PDF file on the right of the webpage that can be used until the link is fixed.

concernedcitizen 3 months ago

I could not view the ‘Plan’ on my iPad. From the responses I read, it seems there are people who care and others that wouldn’t even read or be aware of such
conversation. For those of us who do, and even then, we might not always agree,
I am grateful that I have access to many off lead parks, will continue to pick up other dogs poo & litter and make new friends, human & canine, in our wonderful part of the world. Thankyou and keep up with making informed changes.

Helen Angela 4 months ago

I am concerned about the ill thought-out proposal to create a 24 hour cat curfew within Manningham council, as a means of protecting wildlife.

The negative impact on cat owners and their pets has not been considered, nor the low likelihood that this heavy-handed intervention achieves the goal that it has set out, and contravenes the much more reasonable and effective nighttime cat curfew outlined within the index consultation document.
 
Regarding the impact on wildlife, feral cats are the cause of the majority of wildlife predation, at over 5x that of domestic animals. Further to this, well-fed and well-cared for cats reduce the incidence and impact of feral animals by creating territories that prevent their habitation. If anything domestic cats are useful, particularly in an urban environment, where they reduce mice and rat populations.

A noticeable omission to discussions regarding threats to wildlife is the widespread development approved by the council, without a commensurate increase in green spaces.
 
It’s unrealistic and insensitive to suggest that domestic cats be confined all day. They are social animals with a need to exercise, be stimulated, and simply enjoy the sunshine. Indoor-only cats have been shown to be more likely to be unhealthy, with a greater prevalence of both physical and mental complications, like obesity and stress-related illness.
Further, unlike dogs and their access to off-lead parks, there is no homologue for cats.
 
The proposed solution within the draft, of cat enclosures, and secure fencing, is ridiculous and insensitive to the serial sub-development occurring within council and subsequent smaller land sizes, along with the prohibitive planning process that council mandates developments go through. My own experience in trying to make an outdoor area secure for animals was initially rejected, and required taking the council to VCAT in order to rectify – they are hardly supportive of attempts at responsible pet ownership and secure enclosures, nor are they sensitive to flaws within their own process that inhibit this.
 
They’re also insensitive to the relatively prohibitive expense required to create decent cat enclosures, the net result of which will be local families being unable to enjoy the many positive benefits of cat ownership, and the mutual effects on mental and physical health. My own 85-year-old neighbour recently adopted a stray cat, and I've never seen her so happy. She is on a pension, can’t afford a cat enclosure, but like us, enjoys spending time with her mainly-indoor cat outside in the good weather.
 
I urge those that read this to see the proposal for what it is – an ill thought out, heavy-handed and over the top response to the quite reasonable community proposal of a nocturnal cat curfew.

On another note:
I would also like to point out the council's statistics on cat impoundments and euthanasia. In 2019/2020 (the latest figures) 221 cats were impounded (up from 145, 136, 114 in the previous 3 years) and 97 cats were euthanised (up from 15, 18, 26 in the previous 3 years). How is this possible when Covid saw a surge in pet adoptions across Victoria? Rather than focusing on cat curfews, I would like to see the council address this shocking statistic.

concernedcitizen 4 months ago

Thanks for allowing feedback. Please see as per below.

5. Local Laws, Orders and other Domestic Animal
Controls:
It would be good to identify that when a dog is offlead they must be under effective control. Signage in offlead that makes this CLEAR and Education to the community about what effective control is, is needed i.e Dogs must be under effective voice control that = reliable recall each time.
Is there appropriate signage to indicate an area is a dog and cat prohibited area? Is there an online map people can access?

10. Nuisance
Clear support process for owners when a dog barking complaint is made against them. It can be very stressful when this form of complaint is made. Dogs will bark: so how can council support owners through this process and advise of what resources are available to them to assist in reducing noise complaints and instances of excessive barking. How does council determine if a dogs barking is a nuisance? Some people wont tolerate a dog barking a few times which is completely unfair to the owners and the dog.

13. Domestic Animal Businesses. Suggest Spot checks as well as annual checks to ensure compliance at any given time.

Jesscounsel 4 months ago

Let me thank you for the opportunity to respond.

I also have experienced substantial issues with a barking dog problem over a number of years. In the early days the council was extremely helpful in following up but this diligence has significantly decreased over recent years. My most recent communication did not even warrant a response. So fully support initiative to improved the mechanism in this area.

Equally am totally supportive of any measures to confine cats. Feral animals kill well over one billion native animals every year in Australia according to a report published in the last week. My only question is what is the proposal as to what to do with cats found outside. If registered I am assuming some sort of first warning to be given to the registered cat owner. If repeated a substantial fine. If repeated again, or an unregistered cat involved animal to be euphanised.

If this plan is to be effective it must provide an effective deterrent for antisocial behaviour for any domestic animal or the killing of native wild life.

alpha centauri 4 months ago

Problematic and nuisance dog barking reporting has been frustrating as there hasn't been clear communication with actions taken or going to be taken in the past. Even after multiple diaries submitted with dog barking times, lengths and loudness factor; council person was hesitant to take action of any kind. Just was told they couldn't do anything because it wasn't enough to be called nuisance barking as it wasn't long enough etc.. There needs to be a re-formulation of what is nuisance barking. On paper it may be one thing but when experiencing a very loud bark, constantly going off in short spurts at just about anyone walking past on a busy and popular street for walkers/dog walkers can be difficult to put up with by neighbours. We were not even told that the owners would be spoken to or sent support material or given a verbal warning. No action was taken even after we said we had spoken to the dog owners regarding issue and still there was no change. That another neighbour also was begging them to do something (and she was a shift worker who had to sleep during the day).

Please review your guidelines and parameters on what constitutes nuisance barking. When a dog's bark is echoing around the house walls from across the street and I can hear it inside my house with the tv going through double glazed windows/doors, many times for hours, there is a problem! If neighbours are calling to complain about the same dog, several times; there is a problem! There needs to be a more sophisticated, multi pronged approach to this sort of issue to allow it to be qualified as a problem needing addressing by the council. A fairer system is needed, for everyone involved. Just concerned that in extreme cases if things don't get addressed properly in time, things can escalate between neighbours and get pretty nasty. We want to avoid this. I found the whole system slow and lacking. Sometimes just a friendly, timely drop in visit by the council authorities to let dog owners know there is a complaint might do the trick. Or even a post card like communication in the mail. How about a council promoted group dog training session or two for such dog owners? Or a discount voucher for one? There are dog owners who just don't know how to make their dog control their barking or understand why they are barking. It's the council's job to help educate them. Maybe have a welcome kit with some info for new dog owners and reminder of their responsibilities. Team up with local dog trainers and vet centres. Throw in discount vouchers for pet food or training sessions etc. Good luck!
Luckily; after about 3 years, things have improved with the dog barking in my situation, fingers crossed!

Rita Dayabhai 4 months ago

I am extremely pleased that a 24 hour cat curfew is being proposed. Having witnessed many cats stalking birds and the remains of their successful catches, I strongly believe action needs to be taken to protect our wildlife. Cat runs are not inhumane, nor do they need to be expensive. I choose to create a bird attracting garden and and do not appreciate neighbours cats preying on my garden birds, nor those in public bush land.
More rubbish bins in public parks that dispense (biodegradable) bags would be fantastic and encourage people to pick up dog poo.

TH 4 months ago

Clearly animal welfare is not front of mind when this plan was drafted. To suggest that a cat that has spent its life able to access the outdoors and be free to come and go, can suddenly adapt to being confined to a house is wrong and cruel. Cats will not cope well with being confined to a house 24/7. A cat run is a possibility for some properties, but will not address the welfare issue of being free to move around outdoors. I support a dusk to dawn curfew as was proposed during the consultation period - any responsible cat owner brings their cat in at night to protect the local environment and to keep their pet safe. The sudden change to a 24/7 ban on cats has not been well thought through and does not appear to respect the welfare of the animals or their owners. Some pets may need to be euthanised as the kinder option to what has been proposed here.

If a 24/7 ban on cats is to be implemented, a kinder option would be to consider "Grandfathering" the law. Any cat that is not registered, or registered after the commencement date could be subject to the limitations. This gives potential owners the chance to keep their pets in from the start of their lives and not remove their freedoms once already established. Over time, this would reduce the number of wandering cats, without being as welfare adverse as a sudden move to the 24/7 ban.

bendavies 4 months ago

Plan looks fine but detail around plans for off / on lead requirements for specific areas would help determine the effects of the plan. I encourage inspections of dog walking areas on a regular basis. Ted Adjani sports reserve is an area of concern. There is often significant dog waste left on the oval when I go to walk my dogs every morning. Unsure if this happens in the evening or early morning. It needs to be investigated.

Given the high number of non-English speaking households or limited ability to converse, how will these households be managed in terms of advising the need to register pets and expectations regarding management of their pets?

Paul Gallichio

Paul Gallichio 4 months ago

I am thrilled that Manningham will adopt a 24 hour cat curfew. I have planted my garden to encourage native birds and animals into my property. Cats must be contained on the owners property and not be allowed to roam the neighbourhood. I get really cross when I find cats on my property, chasing birds and 'fishing' in my pond. You do not need to spend a lot of money creating a cat run, there are many creative and low cost means of keeping your cat contained.

TNN 4 months ago

I am seriously concerned that the animal action plan is proposing a full 24/7 cat enclosure action. Many of us would have to spend large amounts of money to meet this requirement to allow for a humane and appropriate way to care for our pets. I assume no funding will be supplied by the Council to assist in this, if not then how are people, some of whom are still recovering from financial loss during COVID, supposed to pay for such enclosures?
The suggestion actually received from the community as referred to in the plan was for night time cat curfew laws (refer page 13). Instead the Council is now proposing further action over and above what the Council has stated was the Community suggestion.
Will there be automatic planning approvals for large cat enclosures (prisons) within gardens? Who will pay for these planning permits? What financial assistance will be supplied to those pet owners that will now have to deal with extra vet bills due to distressed cats that are going from being allowed out during the day, to suddenly being locked into a house 24/7?
To suddenly implement such blanket and over the top restrictions, which is contrary to what the community has requested, is unfair and cruel to the cats, which indicates that Council does NOT actually consider the welfare of either the cats nor of those who rely upon their cats for companionship.

Hollyman 4 months ago

The link to read the draft at the top of the page doesn't work. It's giving an access denied error.

I was able to read the draft via the bottom link. I have concerns that 8 officers may find the workload too large to be in field, enforcing across all of Manningham.

I'd also like to make special mention of the river walks in and around Warrandyte, which are often busy with many off lead dogs. More signage telling which areas are on and off lead allowed, as well as dog waste clean up stations could be warranted in these areas. Also, as this a narrow and unfenced area, dogs are in closer confines with other dogs and wildlife. This could make the area higher risk for dog on dog incidents and wildlife encounters. Snakes are particularly common on the river banks, and signage regarding caution for snakes and regarding snake training for dogs may not go amiss.
Cheers.

EmmaEsme 4 months ago