Doggie doo and cat curfews
by JAMES POYNER
6th September 2021
THE DOCUMENT which outlines how Nillumbik residents and businesses manage their cats and dogs for the next four years has reached the next phase of public consultation.
Nillumbik’s draft Domestic Animal Management Plan 2021-2025 (DAMP) is on display with Council requesting feedback until September 22.
Under the Domestic Animals Act 1994, every Victorian council is required to plan how it deals with its cats and dogs.
Council received more than 860 submissions from the public earlier this year about the management of cats and dogs in the Shire, collected at pop-up consultations in the community and via the Participate Nillumbik website.
Mayor Peter Perkins thanked everyone who made a submission to inform the draft, and said he hopes to see plenty of community submissions on the draft plan.
“To have more than 800 responses to the DAMP survey is reflective of how important pets are to our community.
“The consultation that has now kicked off is asking for your thoughts on the draft plan.
“You can quickly and easily provide feedback and let us know if you think anything else should be covered in the draft,” he said.
During the August 24 Ordinary Council Meeting, Councillors Natalie Duffy and Ben Ramcharan spoke to the motion.
“Education is key and that is one of the messages we have heard and what we have been trying to do as a council in coming up with this plan, “ said Cr Duffy.
“It is looking at how we can educate about responsible pet ownership and that seems to be the highest level of importance for the community.”
10 issues of community concern have been highlighted:
- Dog owners not picking up excrement after their pets.
- Dogs off leash when in on-leash areas.
- Cats outside of property at night- time after curfew.
- Dogs with owners far away/absent in parks and reserves.
- Dogs barking for long periods of time.
- Cats preying on wildlife.
- Cats causing a nuisance to resident’s properties.
- Cats that appear unowned.
- Residents unaware of services the
- Community Safety Department provides to the community, such as where the pet registration funds are spent each year and the cat trapping program.
- Residents unaware of how to find on and off-leash areas in their community.
During the Council meeting, Councillors spoke specifically around the issues of dog poop and cat curfews.
Cr Duffy spoke to the unpleasantness of finding un-scooped dog poo and the frustration experienced by responsible dog owners.
“Most dog owners do scoop their pooch but there are many that don’t, which makes it really unpleasant for those of us who either step in it, dodge it, or are left to clean up the mess.
“It makes it really uncomfortable for those dog owners who do do the right thing as well so that would be my call to the community to make the effort to pick up your dog poo,” Cr Duffy said.
The DAMP outlines how, without any Local Laws in place around responsible pet ownership, it intends to use education through social media, printed materials, pet events and park patrols to inform and encourage responsible pet ownership.
Cr Ramcharan spoke about a proposed cat curfew.
The DAMP suggests a 22.5 hour cat curfew, which would run from 7:30am to 6am.
During these times, cats would be confined to their owners’ properties, although if a cat is found roaming the streets outside the curfew, it can be trapped if the resident “objects to the cat being on their property”.
The DAMP reports that a number of communities within the Green Wedge areas were in favour of a 24- hour cat curfew — including North Warrandyte, Bend of Islands and Christmas Hills, which Cr Ramcharan spoke to.
“A lot of submitters were in favour of that, and it would be a win for our wildlife, although I do understand that many people do have concerns with that,” he said.
There are many issues and procedures covered in the draft DAMP and Nillumbik residents are encouraged to read the plan and make sure they have their say on how our cats and dogs are treated, in Nillumbik, for the next four years.
The draft DAMP, its accompanying consultation finding report and the mechanism for submitting a written submission responding to the draft DAMP is available at participate. nillumbik.vic.gov.au/damp