All Victorian Councils are required by the Domestic Animals Act 1994 to develop and publish a Domestic Animal Management Plan (DAMP) every four years with an annual review throughout the life of the Plan. Matters to be included are described in the legislation and include a range of matters from the training of Animal Management Officers to the procedures for dangerous dogs. These requirements are met in this document.
Council’s key focus in the delivery of animal management services is:
To promote responsible pet ownership in Moreland
To respond to issues raised by the community about nuisance animals (e.g. barking dogs)
To educate the community on topics related to animal management and control
The DAMP presents information on registered domestic animal statistics, the Animal Management staffing and operational structure and current programs and services. In detail, the DAMP document outlines the planned programs and initiatives of the Animal Management Team including training and development, community education of responsible pet ownership, identification and registration, compliance and enforcement of Local Laws associated with pet ownership, domestic animal businesses and declared dogs.
The DAMP also contains a range of new initiatives based on the following underlying themes:
Companion animals provide their owners with love and attachment. Studies have shown that companion animals help to reduce stress, depression and other illnesses. They provide a reason for many to leave their homes and meet others in the community particularly in dog friendly areas.
The needs of animal owners are balanced with those of the non-owning community; this is evidenced by the ratio of on and off leash parks and reserves within the Municipality.
Council’s role in respect to companion animals is one of management and control with animal welfare being of the domain the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Council has explored a number of new initiatives to be considered for funding and support over the next four years; these includes agility parks for dogs, lowering the euthanasia rate, entering into agreements with foster care agencies to re-home animals temporarily until they find their ‘forever’ home.
Lost companion animals cause distress to owners when they feel unable to contribute to the search for them; this DAMP proposes a virtual online pound to be developed and maintained by Council to assist owners in finding their animals.
New definitions of animal types have also been included that will show over time, the types of animals euthanized and why. Council is keen to see a reduction over time in the rates of euthanized animals.
An action plan has also been developed to guide the implementation of the DAMP over the next four years; this contains a range of projects some of which will require funding through Council’s annual budget process. These are listed on pages 31-38 of this document.
This DAMP was developed with the assistance of a reference group; the members of this group represented a wide spectrum of views and levels of involvement in relation to animals in Moreland. Council will review the implementation of the DAMP on an annual basis in June.