Domestic animal management plan 2013-2017 Moreland City Council

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Cat trapping program

Stray wandering cats can go onto a property at night and make noise, destroy property and native wildlife. Wild and feral cats can fight with owned cats and spread diseases such as feline AIDS. They can make excessive noise when mating or in season.

Moreland Council provides a cat trapping program in an attempt to reduce the impact of wild and feral cats. Cat colonies consist of feral and wild cats, strays, abandoned animals and free-roaming pets.

Cat trapping is a free service provided by Council. Council delivers the trap on Monday and collects it on Friday of the same week.

Traps should be checked regularly, and preferably not left unattended (cats are vulnerable once trapped, and their welfare must be a priority). Cats must be taken to the pound as soon as possible after capture to avoid unnecessary stress and suffering (e.g. exposure to inclement weather).

Cats must NOT be transported in enclosed car boots and if the weather is hot, water MUST be provided (the back plate may be lifted slightly and a water bowl put in). Cages should be covered with a blanket to help calm the cat.

All cats taken into Council’s custody are delivered to The Lost Dogs Home.

Barking dogs

As the municipality changes more residential noise nuisance complaints continue to be a major issue, as a result of increased animal ownership in higher density areas. Living in apartments or small properties with dogs is challenging and a priority will be to educate dog owners about training and responsible animal ownership.

Dogs bark for many reasons, and even though they appear to be ‘barking for no reason’ they are in fact trying to communicate something to their owner or anyone who is willing to pay attention.

The following are some of the main reasons why dogs bark:

  • lack of exercise

  • inadequate yard space

  • boredom

  • not enough human companionship

  • inadequate shelter from weather conditions

  • hunger or thirst

  • provocation

  • disturbances

  • changes to family structure, or

  • movement outside the dog’s property.

Of course dogs also bark to alert their owners of trouble, such as an intruder entering the property or perhaps a fire. A dog’s idea of an ‘intruder’ may differ to that of the owner. It could include cats, possums, other dogs, or even birds flying across the property.

While it is acceptable for a dog to bark to warn its owner of an intruder, it is the owner’s responsibility to train the dog not to bark excessively at ‘normal’ occurrences such as possums, cats or birds.

In relation to complaints, it is best if excessive barking issues are resolved between neighbours without Council intervention. Following a complaint Council with write to the owner of the dog and advise that a complaint has been made about their dog and offer suggestions to prevent the barking nuisance.

Council will request the complainant to monitor the situation and advise Council if no action is taken by the dog owner. Should the matter not be resolved at this point Animal Management Officers will speak directly with the owner and commence an investigation which could potentially lead to prosecution.

The only way Council can abate the noise completely is to go to court and obtain a court order. The complainant is required to provide all the information, as it is the complainant, not the Council who will need to convince a Magistrate that the dog is a nuisance.

Feeding wild birds

Council discourages residents feeding wild birds including seagulls as it is harmful to the birds and creates an environment which is unsightly and potentially hazardous to public health.

Native and Wild Birds

All native birds are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975 and there are serious penalties for taking, harassing or injuring native wildlife. It is illegal to kill birds, destroy their nests or eggs without a permit or authority.

The Department of Environment and Primary Industries advises that the feeding of native and wild birds is detrimental to their health and wellbeing and is to be discouraged.

The problems

Apart from creating nuisance conditions such as noise and swooping, the accumulation of bird excreta in the neighbourhood can be a precursor to health issues such as psittacosis. The presence of excessive numbers of wild birds has a number of potential impacts, including:

  • Blockage of gutters and flooding

  • Corrosion of metal roofs

  • Amenity issues involving unsightly fouling of roofs, cars, and work and recreation areas

  • Creation of slip hazards

Constant feeding of birds is detrimental to the birds and creates many public health hazards

Familiarity with people may result from feeding of native birds, increasing the chance of them falling victim to domestic pets and other predators.

Reliance on humans for food may result in suffering or death if people become ill, go on holiday or move away.

Highly processed foods meant for human consumption lack the balanced nutrition that birds require. Birds are often fed on bread, seed or sugar-water and these foods do not provide the birds with all their dietary needs. This can result in nutritional problems and the spread of disease between birds.

Orders of Council relating to Nuisance

Council adopted the following resolution on 8 March 2006 under the Domestic Animals Act 1994

Dogs must be under effective control

The owner of any dog must keep the dog in effective control by means of a chain, cord or leash held by the owner and attached to the dog while the dog is in any public place, other than designated off-leash areas.

Designated off-leash areas

A dog may be exercised off leash in designated off-leash areas, providing the owner:

carries a chain, cord or leash sufficient to bring the dog under effective control if the dog behaves in a manner which threatens any person or animal;

remains in effective voice or hand control of the dog so as to be able to promptly bring the dog under effective control by placing the dog on a chain, cord or leash if that becomes necessary; and

does not allow the dog to worry, attack, and rush at or threaten any person or animal.

If a dog is not restrained in a designated off-leash area, the owner must bring the dog under effective control by means of a chain, cord or leash at all times when the dog is within:

15 metres of:

  • any playground or children’s play equipment;

  • the principal location of an organised sporting or community event or festival;

  • the principal location of an organised public meeting; or

  • a permanent barbecue or picnic area when in use.

1 metre of:

  • a shared pathway (and at all times while on the shared pathway).

Prohibition areas

Dogs are prohibited within the immediate perimeter of any playground at all times.

Dogs are prohibited within any Creeks & Waterways at all times.

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