THE South Gippsland Shire Council adopted a one-year Domestic Animal Management Action Plan at its council meeting this week.

But there’s still a lot of work to be done by the new council with a four-year Domestic Animal Management Plan still to be developed for 2022-2025.

The plan will almost certainly have a cat curfew order as mandatory, maybe even a 24-hour ban on cats leaving the owner’s property.

And dogs too could face tougher rules with a strict ‘Leash Order’ being considered “to reduce the incidence of wandering/unrestrained dogs in public places and number of dogs causing a nuisance.”

Of course, there are already strict poop bylaws:

“A person in charge of an animal must not allow any part of the animal’s excrement to remain on or in a Public Place within a built-up area”; and

“A person in charge of an animal which litters in a Public Place must immediately collect and dispose of the litter in such a manner so as not to cause a nuisance to any other person”.

According to the shire, the Action Plan adopted during the week will set the strategic direction for animal management within South Gippsland Shire Council over the next 12 months, and is based on the current Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017-2021.

The council has also ensured that a new four-year Domestic Animal Management Plan will be developed for 2022-2025 with the new Council post-election and with extensive public consultation to set the future strategic direction of animal management in South Gippsland.

And with the preamble to the new pet plan including such statements as: “…we recognise that pets are considered ‘members’ of most families and include species of animals other than cats and dogs; also that South Gippsland is a community where pets are valued and treated humanely. Where pets live in harmony with people, other animals, the environment and provide us with love and companionship…” there’s scope to come up with a plan that’s pet friendly, environmentally appropriate and protects the people.

The Council’s Chief Executive Officer Kerryn Ellis welcomed the initiative.

“The Domestic Animal Management Plan is at the heart of the service that our Local Laws team provides to the community and ensures that animals are effectively managed in South Gippsland,” Ms Ellis said.

“We look forward to collaborating with the community on the Domestic Animal Management Plan 2022-2025 next year,” she said.

Between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021, there were 34 dog attacks and 20 incidents of dog rushing reported.

The shire hopes to ensure any complaint of dog attack or dog rushing is recorded in Council’s Customer Request System and appropriately investigated in line with normal processes. Upon completion of the investigation, the shire will undertake the necessary progression of the matter and finalise via infringements, prosecution or in some other appropriate manner in consultation with the LLC.

The shire will also respond to complaints of aggressive dogs wandering by patrolling the reported location.

Cats are also a problem to be dealt with. In the past year there have been 166 cat trap requests 191 cat pick-ups, 16 cat nuisance reports and notification of 15 lost cats.

See copy of the domestic animal plan at:

https://www.southgippsland.vic.gov.au/meetings/meeting/174/council_meetings_-_agendas_and_minutes