Cat curfews, dogs on leashes – Council wants your feedback

Published on 01 August 2017

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Do you own a cat or dog – or both? Do you prefer to walk your dog on a lead, or let it run around freely while you walk? Is your cat an outdoor or indoor cat, or a bit of both?

If you have an interest in how dogs, cats and other domestic animals are managed in Murrindindi Shire, we want to hear from you about our draft Domestic Animal Management Plan (DAMP) 2017-2021.

Once adopted, DAMP will guide Murrindindi Shire Council’s approach to the management of dogs, cats and other domestic animals in the Shire for the next four years.

Cr Sandice McAulay, Council’s Community Services Portfolio Councillor, said the draft DAMP tackles some potentially challenging questions for animal owners, but Council is keen to work with the community in planning for how we manage domestic animals.

“So we are asking for the community to comment on our draft DAMP. We’re particularly keen to get people’s thoughts on whether dogs should be kept on leads in public areas, and whether we should plan for some specific off-lead areas and, if so, where should these be?

“We have developed an online survey which we’re encouraging the community to fill out so we can use this feedback for the DAMP (http://bit.ly/2uLBfOM). If residents don’t have internet access, we also have hard copies of this survey available at our offices.”

Cr McAulay said neighbouring Shires had incorporated cat curfews into their animal management plans and Council is now also seeking the community’s feedback about this idea for Murrindindi Shire.

“There is substantial research showing that evenings are when cats are most active in hunting -and all domestic cats hunt small native fauna when they’re outside,” she said.

“In light of this, Yarra Ranges and Baw Baw Shire Councils have a 24-hour cat curfew which means cats there must be confined at all times.  Nillumbik has a less restrictive “overnight” curfew meaning cats must be securely confined between the hours of 7.30pm and 6am.

“These Shires have found their curfews significantly reduced native animal deaths and cat owners also reported fewer injuries to their pets as they’re not getting into fights or being hit by cars.”

Animal owners wanting to view the DAMP and provide feedback can download it from Council’s website at www.murrindindi.vic.gov.au (and search ‘DAMP’). Paper copies of the Plan will also be available for viewing at Council offices during the public consultation period which runs until 1 September 2017.

“I’d encourage everyone with an interest in domestic animal management to fill out the community survey which can be done online (http://bit.ly/2uLBfOM) or via a form which is available at Council offices.  We want to hear from all areas of our Shire with an interest in this important issue by 1 September 2017,” said Cr McAulay.