Outline programs, services and strategies to encourage the registration and identification of dogs and cats.
The City of Greater Geelong has the highest number of domestic animals of all Victorian municipalities. The Domestic Animals Act requires all dogs and cats to be registered with Council at 3 months of age.
A high proportion of lost unidentified animals consequently become unclaimed because these animals are not registered. When a pet is registered with Council they are provided with a registration identification tag. This enables Council to identify and return lost pets home. Additionally, registration enables Council to assist the community in complying through voluntary action and education processes.
There still continues to be misunderstanding by the community on the benefits and requirements as to why an animal is to be registered or microchipped, despite significant promotion and education.
As at December 2012 there were:
35,918 registered dogs, and
10,958 registered cats
Registration trends for the last four years have remained consistent.
Council Policies and Procedures
State Legislation applies under the Domestic Animals Act
Our current Education/Promotion Activities include:
Annual Microchipping and Registration Roadshows
Education workshops and seminars
Extensive promotional/advertising of Microchipping and Registration Roadshows for dogs and cats via radio, local newspapers, Council’s website, community billboards, Council’s Community Update, letter box drops and Council’s telephone on hold message system
Extensive articles and media release promoting the benefits and requirements of microchipping and registration of dogs and cats in local media, on Council’s websites, and Tag Time News (Council’s annual newsletter to registered pet owners), and Council’s Community Update
The annual production of Council’s Tag Time News for registered pet owners
The quarterly production of Council’s quarterly E newsletter Tag Time News for residents
Focused registration and microchipping marketing campaigns on “the ability to return dogs and cats home”
Subsidised microchipping and half price registration at Microchipping and Registration Roadshows
Trained and authorised Council Officers to implant microchips
The distribution of registration brochures and other material to local Vets and pet retailers for client distribution
The provision of a range of registration payment options
Encouraged dog clubs to promote the benefits of registration and microchipping to their club members
Promote registration renewal dates via various advertising mediums
Ensure all animal complaints are checked for registration and microchipping identification compliance as part of the process of dealing with the complaint
All authorised officers are provided with laptop computers enabling access to animal owner’s details
On the spot issue of infringements notices
Monitor all points of sale of cats and dogs
Provide online renewal service
At least 80% of respondents indicated that they had their dogs/cats registered, microchipped and desexed
Registration rates were higher for dogs than cats (99% vs. 89%)
Dogs were slightly more likely to be microchipped than cats (96% vs. 80%)
Cats were slightly more likely to be desexed than dogs (96% vs. 91%)
Over the next four years Council will be seeking to increase the number of cats and dogs registered in the municipality. There is also a need to determine the actual number of pets residing in the community. This data would be invaluable in targeting service delivery, and education and compliance requirements for the future. These challenges will be done through conducting a pet census, education programs, registration checks during patrols, undertaken by Authorised Management Officers and checking registration details of all animals sighted during visits to residential/commercial properties.
To increase the number of dogs and cats registered in the municipality
To increase awareness of the requirement to register dogs and cats
To continue to promote animal registration and identification using various media sources and Council’s web page
To continue to undertake an annual registration audit
To have an animal officer specifically identify unregistered animals
To investigate options for providing additional benefits to pet owners for registering their pets
Objective 1: Increase dog and cat registration numbers by 5% over the first 2 years of the plan. To be reviewed annually.
A dedicated animal officer will identify unregistered animals in the municipality.
Increase in registration numbers
Ensure all dogs & cats registered for the first time are microchipped & desexed prior to registration
Check all dogs are microchipped prior to registration
Develop strategy to ensure all cats that are having their registration renewed are microchipped and desexed during the life of this plan (4 years)
Identify opportunities for funding and partnerships to deliver affordable desexing programs for the community
Source funding partners
To explore opportunities to appoint registration agents external to Council
Conduct feasibility study to explore options
Conduct a pet census/survey to determine a base number of animals in the municipality with respect to delivery of service for the future including Microchipping and Registration Roadshows, Registration Door Knock Checks and Animal Patrols.
Conduct regular microchipping and registration roadshows annually.
Increase in registration and microchipped animals
Reconcile the National Microchip Registry with Council’s registration data prior to renewal period each year
Check all microchipped animals in the municipality are registered by cross-referencing registration database with information from microchip registries
Investigate the value in Council making an additional Order requiring dogs and cats to be microchipped at time of registration (i.e. those registered prior to 1 May 2007)
Investigation conducted and decision made
To reconcile the registration outcomes for all animals that are gifted to organisations bound by agreements after their impoundment period.
Annual reconciliations and audits undertaken
Offer free registration for any dog or cat purchased from the Geelong Animal Welfare Society shelter or any other shelter in the Municipality at the point of sale. That such registration maybe reversed after seven day cooling off period.
Processes and procedures developed to enable offer to be implemented
Continue to send out registration reminder notices to those pet owners who have not re-registered their pets on receipt of annual renewal notice
Contact to be made via letter, phone call or Animal Officer registration door knock check
Investigate SMS technology as a medium for advising pet owners of non renewal
Number of animals re-registered after receiving the registration reminder notice
SMS technology investigated
Objective 2: To promote the benefits, value and opportunities of dog and cat registration to pet owners.
To develop and distribute educational material about dog and cat topical issues incorporate as part of the animal renewal process. Topical issues could be dog/cat containment desexing etc.
Material developed and distributed at animal renewal time.
Develop appropriate educational materials and distribute with registered owners of lost dogs and cats to promote containment measures
Develop relevant material on containment measures
To issue all owners of lost dogs/cats an information package advising them of containment measures
Promote the benefits of having dogs or cats wearing registration tag to enable the public to assist Council in reuniting dogs and cats expediently with their owners on the day without being impounded.
Education and promotion activities undertaken
Return any lost/wandering dog or cat to its registered owner without penalty* - where the dog/cat is currently registered and found at large for the first time. A formal warning to be issued in such circumstances.
Conduct research on the viability of introducing this action to improve registration rates and lower impound rates.
*Penalties may apply where negligence is established rather than misfortune.
Explore the benefit/value of providing “free registration” for kittens & puppies from 10 October until 10 April annually.