At the Maroondah Council meeting on Monday 15 November Council resolved to make an order under the Domestic Animals Act which will take effect on 1 January 2011.
The new laws include the introduction of on-leash regulations for all dogs in public places and a Dusk to Dawn curfew for all cats.
Maroondah Mayor Councillor Alex Makin said the plan was a result of extensive consultation with the community and animal management experts, following community concerns regarding the lack of specific animal controls in Maroondah.
“We need to ensure that the management of Maroondah’s 14,600 registered dogs and 5200 registered cats is in accordance with State Government legislation and expectations of the community,” Cr Makin said.
“Council believes it has reached a considered outcome that leaves no one group unfairly disadvantaged. The new laws are underpinned by principles of fairness and equity, consistency with contemporary practice and a balanced approach to the differing community views on the issues,” said Cr Makin.
“During the consultation process we listened to our residents and taking their views into consideration we made changes to some of the areas designated as on leash or off leash areas,” Cr Makin said.
“Under the new laws, dogs must be under effective control at all times while in public, which means that they must be on a leash or in a designated off-leash area,” Cr Makin said.
“To give people more peace of mind while out and about in Maroondah, dogs must also be on a leash within 15 metres of playgrounds, picnic areas, barbeques, organised sporting events, sporting matches or training sessions or when on a shared use path,” Cr Makin said.
“For those who want to exercise their dogs off leash there are numerous locations across the municipality where this can be done. Residents can still enjoy walking their dogs off leash in these areas, as long as the dog is still under effective control, ” Cr Makin said.
The new laws also identify areas of significant conservation or biodiversity, which means that dogs are not permitted in these areas.
Cr Makin said a dusk to dawn cat curfew will also take affect from 1 January 2011.
“Cats can cause significant damage to the environment and wildlife when left to roam free, especially at night when a lot of native animals are out and about.
Council will conduct an extensive community education campaign to inform residents about the changes.
Maps outlining the off-leash areas throughout Maroondah will soon be sent to all registered pet owners. This pocket-sized brochure will also have tips on responsible pet ownership.
Information and maps showing designated off leash areas will also be available on Council’s website and at Council’s Customer Service Centres.
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