CITY OF MITCHAM DOG AND CAT MANAGEMENT PLAN 2018-2023
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DOG AND CAT MANAGEMENT PLAN 2018-23 ENDORSED BY COUNCIL ON 8 MAY 2018 AND BECAME OPERATIONAL ON THE 1 JULY 2018. AROUND 63% OF AUSTRALIAN HOUSEHOLDS OWN A PET – 39% OWN A DOG WHILST 29% OF HOUSEHOLDS OWN A CAT.
Dog and Cat Management Plan 2018-2023 | 1 CONTENTS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 2 1 SUMMARY OF KEY RECOMMENDATIONS 3 2. INTRODUCTION 4 3. HOW DID WE PREPARE THE PLAN? 6 4. BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT TO THE PLAN 8 4.1 MITCHAM PROFILE 8 4.2 STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT PLAN 2017-2022 9 4.3 LEGISLATION AND BY-LAWS 10 4.4 COUNCIL’S EXISTING ANIMAL MANAGEMENT SERVICE 11 4.5 SECOND DOG PARK 12 4.6 STAKEHOLDERS AND PARTNERS 13 5. INVESTIGATIONS AND COMMUNITY FEEDBACK 14 5.1 STATISTICS 14 5.2 OUTCOMES OF THE 2012-2017 PLAN 15 5.3 COMMUNITY FEEDBACK 15 5.4 STAFF FEEDBACK 16 5.5 DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS 17 6. OBJECTIVES, STRATEGIES AND KEY PERFORMANCE MEASURES 20 6.1 DOG AND CAT MANAGEMENT 20 6.2 DOG MANAGEMENT 25 6.3 CAT MANAGEMENT 29 6.4 STAFFING THE ANIMAL MANAGEMENT SERVICE 30 6.5 MONITORING AND REVIEW 30 APPENDIX 1: ON LEASH PARKS, OFF LEASH PARKS, PARKS WHERE DOGS ARE PROHIBITED AND OFF LEASH PARKS IDENTIFIED THAT COULD BE ENHANCED OVER THE LIFE OF THE PLAN IN THE CITY OF MITCHAM: 32 APPENDIX 2: COMMUNITY FEEDBACK 34 APPENDIX 3: ANIMAL MANAGEMENT STATISTICS 41 APPENDIX 4: COMPILATION OF PROPOSED ACTIONS 43 6.1 MANDATORY MICROCHIPPING 43 6.1 MANDATORY DESEXING 43 6.1 RESPONSIBLE DOG AND CAT OWNERSHIP 44 6.1 BREEDER REGISTRATION 44 6.1 EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT 45 6.2 DOG REGISTRATION 45 6.2 DOGS BY-LAW 45 6.2 DOG ATTACKS 45 6.2 EXCESSIVE BARKING 46 6.2 DOGS AND COUNCIL PARKS AND RESERVES 46 6.3 CAT MANAGEMENT 47 6.4 STAFFING THE ANIMAL MANAGEMENT SERVICE 47 6.5 IMPLEMENTING THE PLAN 47 Dog and Cat Management Plan 2018-2023, prepared for the City of Mitcham with assistance by Harlock Jackson, March 2018.
2 | Dog and Cat Management Plan 2018-2023 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Around 63% of Australian households own a pet – 39% own a dog whilst 29% of households own a cat. These figures are significant and reflect the sustained popularity of pet ownership in Australia. Mitcham Council’s Dog and Cat The off leash areas available for A perennial issue in animal management Management Plan 2018-2023 provides exercising dogs in the City of Mitcham is dogs being leashed where required a framework for Council’s management area listed in Appendix 1. and under effective control in places of dogs and cats and in particular for where they can be exercised off The Council’s first Dog Park, opened in improving the animal management the leash. It was a key theme in 2009, is at CC Hood Reserve Panorama. services provided. It reflects our review of the community feedback. The Plan Mitcham Council’s animal management Section 4.5 summarises the background recommends consideration of the services, community feedback and a to the establishment of a second dog following initiatives: review of the strategic planning context. park in the hills area of Mitcham Council. + A video on the responsibilities of This work was done during the life of Council has performed well on all the dog owners using public spaces with the last Plan and included two studies Key Action Areas contained in the last their dog. conducted by Balancing Act Adelaide in Dog and Cat Management Plan for 2012- October 2016 and February 2017 and a + Written material featuring a range 2017. It also performs well against the Council resolution on 13 December 2016 of typical interactions or issues to animal management measures collated that a dog park be established in the hills do with the presence of dogs in by the Dog and Cat Management Board area of Mitcham. Council’s reserves. These “vignettes” (compared to other Councils) and on could be disseminated separately or statewide averages. There were no Of the four parks/reserves in the hills together via passive social marketing stand out issues that were considered to area that the second Balancing Act (eg Council’s website) and active warrant urgent attention. Adelaide study concluded were suitable social marketing (eg social media, for an enclosed dog park, Hannaford Park New statewide animal management newspapers). is considered to be the most suitable. requirements will be introduced from However it is not without issues and Fortunately, most barking dog 1st July 2018: there was both community support for complaints are resolved fairly easily. + A new online portal to be known and opposition to it having a dog park. However, some drag out for months, as Dogs and Cats Online (DACO) will are not resolved easily and can cause Based on Council’s final stage consultation replace individual council animal angst for both the complainant and dog feedback and Petition received in registration registers. owner. Council will hold a forum inviting January 2018 Hannaford Park, has been a range of stakeholders including + All dogs and cats over the age of targeted for further consultation with all animal behaviourists, which would also three months will be required to be stakeholders in the immediate vicinity be open to the community to discuss microchipped. to consider a range of improvements barking issues. to Hannaford Park as a dog off leash + All new generations of dogs and area including new and/or upgraded The remainder of the Plan involves cats will be required to be desexed. infrastructure, design and siting ongoing monitoring, review and Owners will not be required to desex considerations, improvements for dog improvement where possible of Council’s dogs and cats born before this date. owners exercising their dogs at the park. procedures and education material in These are significant changes which conjunction with careful monitoring of If a dog off leash area is established this will be an early focus of the Plan. New our key performance indicators. would be implemented by a resolution procedures and community education of Council under the Council’s By-law 5, will be required. Section 8 Dog Exercise Areas. A cat confinement requirement will be The Plan includes consideration of considered as part of the 2023 Cat By-law whether it is possible to achieve review. This follows community feedback additional off-leash spaces in supporting either a cat curfew or a Council’s reserves and that supporting 24-hour cat confinement requirement. infrastructure in all of Mitcham’s off The review would consider scientific leash areas be upgraded to include the evidence, resourcing implications and provision of dog play equipment, dog further targeted consultation with the poo bags, bag dispensers, waste bins and community. increased frequency of waste disposal. This is because this was the most frequent response in the Balancing Act Adelaide survey regarding improvements to parks and reserves. This might include an enlargement of the existing dog park at CC Hood Reserve. The list of off leash parks that could be enhanced over the life of this Plan is provided in Appendix 1.
Dog and Cat Management Plan 2018-2023 | 3 1 SUMMARY OF KEY RECOMMENDATIONS The following is a summary of the key recommendations. More detailed information is contained within the plan: + Existing requirements, procedures and databases will be reviewed and updated to accommodate the forthcoming statewide changes to the Dog and Cat Management Act and the introduction of DACO; + A comprehensive education program will be developed and implemented that covers the suite of local and statewide requirements applying to dogs and cats; + Further targeted consultation to occur in the immediate vicinity of Hannaford Park (Reserve) with all stakeholders to consider a range of improvements to Hannaford Park as an enhanced dog off leash area including new and/or upgraded infrastructure, design and siting considerations, and improvements for dog owners exercising their dogs at the park. If an enhanced dog off leash area is established this would be implemented by a resolution of Council under the Council’s By-law 5, Section 8 Dog Exercise Areas; + List of off-leash parks that could be considered for enhancement over the life of the Plan (see appendix 1); + A cat confinement requirement will be considered during the life of the Plan; + Additional education initiatives will be undertaken in relation to the presence of dogs in public places (streets, footpaths, parks and reserves); and + A dog barking forum will be held with residents and identified stakeholders.
4 | Dog and Cat Management Plan 2018-2023 2 INTRODUCTION Around 63% of Australian households own a pet - 39% own a dog whilst 29% of households own a cat. These figures are significant and reflect the sustained popularity of pet ownership in Australia. Pets can be wonderful companions. There is also mounting evidence that pets provide significant psychological and physiological benefits including improvements to cardiovascular health, fewer visits to the doctor, a buffering against grief at times of bereavement, a lowering of stress and delaying of the ageing process. In South Australia, the Dog and Cat This is the City of Mitcham’s Dog and Cat Section 5 provides a summary of the Management Act 1995 (the Act) provides Management Plan for 2018-2023. community feedback and investigations for the management of dogs and cats in undertaken in relation to the Plan It includes strategies to manage dogs the community. Its objectives are to: (including consideration of petition and cats and sets out how Council’s received). + Encourage responsible dog and cat responsibilities under the Act will be ownership; addressed. Section 6 provides the objectives, strategies and key performance + Reduce public and environmental Section 1 provides a summary of the key measures that make up our Dog and Cat nuisance caused by dogs and cats; recommendations contained in the Plan. Management Plan. and Section 3 describes the steps we have Appendix 1 contains a list of the parks + Promote the effective management taken in preparing this Plan. and public reserves where dogs may be of dogs and cats (including through Section 4 describes the background and exercised off-leash, those where they are the encouragement of the desexing context to the Plan. It includes: required to be under effective control by of dogs and cats). means of physical restraint and the parks + A profile of the special attributes of The City of Mitcham is responsible and public reserves in which dogs are the Mitcham Council area; for implementation of most of the prohibited from entering. requirements in the Act within the + A description of the legislation, Appendix 2 reports on the feedback Mitcham Council area. Council’s animal management By- received from the community in relation laws and Council’s existing animal The Act requires all Councils to produce to the Plan. management service; a Plan of Management relating to dogs Appendix 3 provides Council’s key animal and cats within their local area. They are + The background to the establishment management statistics. called Animal Management Plans and/or of a dog park in the Mitcham hills; Dog and Cat Management Plans and are and produced every five years. + The stakeholders and partners who have or might have a role to play in improving the animal management service and outcomes.
Dog and Cat Management Plan 2018-2023 | 5 THERE IS ALSO MOUNTING EVIDENCE THAT PETS PROVIDE SIGNIFICANT PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PHYSIOLOGICAL BENEFITS INCLUDING IMPROVEMENTS TO CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH, FEWER VISITS TO THE DOCTOR, A BUFFERING AGAINST GRIEF AT TIMES OF BEREAVEMENT, A LOWERING OF STRESS AND DELAYING OF THE AGEING PROCESS.
6 | Dog and Cat Management Plan 2018-2023 3 HOW DID WE PREPARE THE PLAN? The steps we took in preparing the Plan are summarised below. THE STEPS WE TOOK IN PREPARING THE PLAN Community and An understanding of the community and geographic profiles will ensure the Plan reflects geographic profiles the special attributes of the Mitcham Council area. This is described in Section 4.1. The planning context The Strategic Management Plan 2017-2022 was reviewed for its implications for the Council’s animal management service. This is described in Section 4.2. Legislation The Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 is the foundation for Council’s animal management service. Developing this Plan is an opportunity to review our animal management service to improve the outcomes achieved. In addition, there are recent amendments to the Act that will need to be implemented by the Council. The legislation and forthcoming amendments are described in Section 4.3. By-laws The Council has two animal management by-laws – one in relation to dogs and one in relation to cats. They expire in January 2023. In preparing this Plan, we considered the requirements contained in these by-laws ahead of a formal review in 2022. The animal by-laws are described in Section 4.3. Existing service Preparing the Plan is an opportunity to reflect on the existing animal management service provided by the Council and consider possible improvements. The existing animal management service is described in Section 4.4. Second dog park and The reviews, studies and Council reports relating to dog off leash areas and a second dog off leash but under park in Mitcham were considered in the final recommendations contained in this Plan. effective control areas The discussion and recommendations are contained in Sections 4.5 and 5.5. Partnerships In preparing the Plan, we considered ways to partner with others to improve outcomes and achieve a better use of resources. The list of possible stakeholders and partners is included in Section 4.6. Records and data The Council’s animal management data was reviewed to identify trends, issues and possible priorities. This is described in Section 5.1. Outcomes of the The outcomes of the last Dog and Cat Management Plan were reviewed and are 2012-2017 Plan summarised in Section 5.2. Community feedback Community feedback has been incorporated into the Plan where possible and appropriate. The community engagement process and feedback received is explained in Section 5.3. Staff feedback Council staff were able to provide valuable input on trends, issues and possible priorities and initiatives. This is outlined in Section 5.4. Research and best practice We reviewed the latest research on the key issues. Other states and councils We looked at what other states and councils are doing in animal management. Funding Any new initiatives will need to be resourced along with the resourcing of existing services and facilities. Existing funding arrangements were considered.
Dog and Cat Management Plan 2018-2023 | 7 A CAT CONFINEMENT REQUIREMENT WILL BE CONSIDERED AS PART OF THE 2023 CAT BY-LAW REVIEW.
8 | Dog and Cat Management Plan 2018-2023 4 BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT TO THE PLAN This section describes the background and context to the Dog and Cat Management Plan including: + The community and geographic + The Dog and Cat Management Act + Identification of relevant external profiles of the City of Mitcham that and Council’s animal management stakeholders and partners. might have a bearing on the Dog and by-laws; Cat Management Plan; + Council’s existing animal + Mitcham’s Strategic Management management service; Plan 2017-2022 Mitcham which + Background to the establishment of a provides a background and context to Second Dog Park; and preparation of the Plan. 4.1 MITCHAM PROFILE The City of Mitcham covers 30 suburbs, In 2016, the majority of residents lived The City of Mitcham boasts a range of an area of 75 square kilometres and in separate houses. 20.6% of dwellings unique natural habitats, trees and native stretches from Cross Road in the north, were in the form of medium or high vegetation that form part of a significant Sturt River in the south, from Mount density housing compared with 26% for green corridor across the western Barker Road in the east to South Road in greater Adelaide. slopes of the Mount Lofty Ranges. The the west. In 2016, the total population hills contain one of the large remnant Council has a higher proportion of was 66,372, an increase of 473 on the stands of endangered Grey Box Grassy persons at post retirement age than previous five years. Approximately one woodland in South Australia and are the greater Adelaide. third of the population live in the hills home of many threatened native plants area whilst two thirds live on the plains The majority of residents (84%) speak and animals. area of the Council. English at home. Of the other languages spoken at home, the most common languages are Greek, Mandarin and Italian.
Dog and Cat Management Plan 2018-2023 | 9 4.2 STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT PLAN 2017-2022 The City of Mitcham Strategic the Council’s key areas of focus for the for the Council’s animal management Management Plan 2017-2027 has coming years. Its objectives are set out service. particular relevance because it outlines below along with their implications IMPLICATIONS FOR THE ANIMAL OBJECTIVE RELEVANT STRATEGIES MANAGEMENT PLAN 1 Accessible Strategy 1.2 Access to a diverse range of Recognise the health benefits of pet and information, services, activities and facilities. ownership. Connected Strategy 1.3 Access to high quality, vibrant, Recognise the role of dog walking in the Community well serviced places and spaces to meet, promotion of active lifestyles. learn and recreate. Recognition of the role dog walking plays Strategy 1.4 Our community is strong, in creating opportunities to build social healthy, resilient and is supported in connections with others. building connections amongst people, pursuing pathways to lifelong learning and personal growth. Strategy 1.6 Our community is actively encouraged and supported to have a voice and to participate in a meaningful way in shaping our City. 2 Sustainable Strategy 2.1 Our biodiversity within Consider the impacts of dogs and cats on City open spaces, waterways, reserves and biodiversity. streetscapes is protected and enhanced. Assist pet owners in planning for and Strategy 2.4 Our community is resilient to recovering from emergencies and natural climate change and the impacts of natural disasters. disasters. 3 Dynamic Strategy 3.1 We have attractive and vibrant Consider partnerships with others to improve and precincts, places and spaces, supported by animal management outcomes and achieve Prosperous a variety of quality community facilities a better use of resources. This could include and retail, commercial and residential neighbouring Councils, external stakeholder Economy development. groups, the State Government, volunteers and the private sector. Strategy 3.3 We work collaboratively with neighbouring Councils, State Government and private sector partnerships. Strategy 3.4 We are a destination well regarded by residents and visitors for our heritage, natural environment, events, educational and medical facilities. 4 Vibrant and Strategy 4.1 We have special places, spaces The dog park and other reserves that Rich Culture and stories that create a strong sense permit off leash exercise provide a positive of place and great experiences for our experience for dog owners. community. Community feedback received in relation of digital communication and digital management and related outcomes; to the Strategic Management Plan services. This suggests the following and suggested that Council should continue potential implications for the Plan: + Potential augmentation of digital to provide services for older people, + Recognition of the health and communications with pet owners. support volunteers, create greater companionship benefits of pet opportunities for volunteering, engage ownership for all members of the with young people and families and community including the elderly; recognise the value of multiculturalism and diversity. There was also some + Council could consider using suggestion that Council increase its use volunteers to improve animal
10 | Dog and Cat Management Plan 2018-2023 4.3 LEGISLATION AND BY-LAWS DOG AND CAT MANAGEMENT the age of six months. Owners will not The Board will fully fund DACO through ACT 1995 be required to desex dogs and cats born an increase in the percentage of the dog before the prescribed date. Exemptions registration fees remitted to the Board. The Act provides the foundation for will apply and be possible. This will help the Council’s animal management Council will need to review its to reduce the large number of unowned service. Key features of the Council’s systems and processes to capture and unwanted cats in the community. responsibilities under the Act are that: the new information. The existing Sale of dogs and cats database may not have the necessary + Dogs must be registered and functionality. There will also be an identified. Sellers of dogs and cats are to give the opportunity to integrate other databases new owner a written notice setting out (microchipping, dog incidents, breeder + Dogs are not allowed to wander at the identity of the seller, the identity of large, attack a person or an owned registration). the breeder, details of vaccinations and animal, cause a nuisance or defecate other treatments, information relating The new microchipping requirements in a public place unless the owner to the microchip, desexing and other will require cat owners to upload their immediately removes the faeces relevant medical information and in the details into DACO. DACO would then and disposes of them in a lawful and case of a dog subject to control orders, become a tool Council could use to suitable manner. Dogs are required details of the order. manage cats (in conjunction with the to be leashed on public roads and in local database of cat registrations). public places (unless sign posted by Dog and Cat breeders Council to the contrary). Anyone who breeds a dog or cat for sale BY-LAWS + Councils have the power to make will be required to register as a breeder. Mitcham Council has two by-laws a range of orders in relation to the relating to dogs and cats. keeping of dogs. Assistance dogs The Dogs By-law 2015 (By-law No 5 of + Councils have the power to seize and The term Assistance Dog has replaced the City of Mitcham): detain dogs. the terms Disability Dog, Guide Dog and Hearing Dog. The change has provided + Provides a permit requirement for + There are specific requirements in Assistance Dogs with a wide range of premises wishing to keep more than relation to the detention/removal public access rights and there have been one dog in a small dwelling and of cats from remote or fragile areas changes to who can accredit animals. more than two dogs in premises and in relation to unidentified cats in other than a small dwelling (with other areas. Cats are not required to Council officers exemptions). be registered. This remains a council- The current terms of a Dog Management by-council decision. + Provides for dog exercise areas, dog Officer and Cat Management Officer has on leash areas and dog prohibited been replaced with Authorised Person. LEGISLATIVE CHANGES Under the new provisions, Authorised areas. The parks and reserves in each category are listed in Appendix 1. The South Australian Government has Persons have been granted additional made changes to the Act, some of powers to improve their ability to + Requires people to carry a receptacle which have already been implemented enforce the Act. suitable for removing their dog’s and others which are expected to be faeces from public spaces. introduced in 2018. These are discussed CHANGES TO REGISTRATION - The Cats By-law 2015 (By-law No 6 of the below. Most of the changes will need to DOG AND CATS ONLINE (DACO) City of Mitcham): be managed and enforced by the Council. At present, all dogs are required to be + Requires all cats to be registered and Microchipping registered with the respective local microchipped. Council. All dogs and cats over the age of + Provides a permit requirement for three months will be required to be From 1 July 2018, a new statewide online households wishing to keep more microchipped. The new provisions will portal will replace individual council than two cats and ensuring all cats commence on 1 July 2018. The new registers. Dog owners will pay registration are kept without causing a nuisance. statewide requirement will override the fees online. The new system, to be known need for the local by-law requirement as Dogs and Cats Online (DACO) will Both by-laws expire in January 2023. for cats to be microchipped. However send owners renewal notices, and their The by-law requiring cats to be given the by-law provisions are not in registration discs. microchipped will be superseded by conflict with the statewide legislative DACO information will be available 24/7 the forthcoming statewide requirement changes being introduced Council‘s to Council officers and other Authorised that will commence on 1 July 2018. It by-law does not need to be changed Persons. The statewide registers will would be appropriate to remove the until their next review in 2023. enable Council officers to identify the michrochipping requirement from the by- The requirement to microchip will homes of dogs from other council areas. law at the next by-law review in 2023. be enforced as part of the annual The Board expects an increase in the If a local requirement to confine cats registration process. number of people registering their dog were to be introduced, this would Desexing of dogs and cats each year (which could increase council happen by way of an amendment to the revenue). It also expects animals to be existing Cats By-law (or included in the Dog and cat owners will be required to returned to their owners more quickly new by-law enacted after 2023). desex all new generations of dogs and than is possible now. cats born after the 1 July 2018 and by
Dog and Cat Management Plan 2018-2023 | 11 4.4 COUNCIL’S EXISTING ANIMAL MANAGEMENT SERVICE Dogs in public places The Act requires dogs to be leashed on public streets, nature strips, footpaths, parking areas and shopping centres. Council’s Dogs By-law provides for declared areas where dogs are allowed to be exercised on and off the leash and areas where they are prohibited from entering. They are listed in Appendix 1. They include some time-share areas, and generic requirements applying to fenced playgrounds (dogs prohibited) and unfenced playgrounds (dogs required to be on the leash within 10 metres of the play space). There is also a 20 metres rule for Mortlock Park which means Key measures to reduce the incidence of dogs are required to be on leash at all EXISTING ANIMAL dog attacks include early socialisation times within 20 metres of the BMX track, MANAGEMENT SERVICE and obedience training, confinement playground equipment and of organised sport or school activities (when they are Registration to prevent dogs from wandering and underway). effective control of dogs in public places. In the City of Mitcham, dogs and cats are Dogs must be kept under effective required to be registered. From 1 July Education, especially of children, in how to behave around dogs can reduce control in all other public places. 2018, registration will be managed by the new statewide DACO. the risk. Council has a dedicated Dog Park at Research by the Board shows that CC Hood Reserve, Panorama. It is fully Whilst the Board will manage dog enclosed by a 1.5m fence to allow dogs registrations under the DACO system, undesexed dogs are 7 to 10 times more likely to attack than desexed dogs. to be exercised freely off the leash in a Council will still have a role to play in safe environment under effective control. following up those that fail to register/ The forthcoming mandatory desexing requirement will help to reduce the risk. The park includes shelters, bench seating, reregister their dog. water dispensers, poo bag dispensers, Staffing Community Safety Officers continue to waste bins and play equipment for dogs review their processes for dealing with including rails, posts and pipes. Council has two (FTE) Dog Management dog attacks. Officers and one (0.6 FTE) Cat Owners of dogs or the person Management Officer. One or more Dog barking responsible for the dog are required to Community Safety Officers are on duty remove any dog faeces left by their dog Excessive barking is a problem that seven days a week and on-call officers in a public place. Failure to do so is an consumes a considerable amount of are available to handle emergency calls. offence under the Act. Council resources. Ninety per cent of Lost and unowned pets dog complaints are resolved within 14 Council’s by-law also makes it an offence days but the remaining 10% can become to take a dog into a public place if In 2016/2017 76 dogs were impounded. intractable and particularly difficult to the person in control of the dog is not This is an increase from 66 dogs in resolve. carrying a dog bag or similar to remove the previous year. Overall Council the dog’s droppings. had a 92.2% return rate to owners in A Standard Operating Procedure exists for 2016/2017. dog barking to ensure that it reflects best Council supplies dog bag dispensers practice and consistency of approach by across the Council area. Dogs that cannot be re-united with their the team. owner are handed to the RSPCA which is Issues in relation to dogs in public places required to hold them for 72 hours before Community Safety Officers continue to include that: making them available for re-homing. review their processes for dealing with + Dogs are retained under effective dog barking problems. Council has nominated the RSPCA as voice control in off leash areas; the location as to where cats can be Education in responsible pet + Dogs are kept on the leash in on contained. ownership leash areas; The Community Safety Team has a range DOG ATTACKS of brochures and Council’s website + Dogs are not taken to areas where dogs are prohibited; and Council received 46 reported dog attacks provides information to dog owners on a in 2016/2017 and 49 the previous year. range of relevant topics. + Dog faeces are removed from public places and dog owners carry a A Standard Operating Procedure exists for The Board supports a primary school receptacle with them to pick up their dealing with dog attacks to ensure the education program aimed at 6-10 year dog’s droppings. necessary steps are taken to investigate olds. A primary focus of these programs and respond to such incidents. is to reduce the incidence dog attacks on children.
12 | Dog and Cat Management Plan 2018-2023 4.4 COUNCIL’S EXISTING ANIMAL MANAGEMENT SERVICE CONTINUED REGISTRATIONS FUNDING Cat Management Board. This will rise to 24% with the commencement of the In 2016/2017, Council had 9,748 All monies received from registrations, statewide registration portal (DACO). (No registered dogs. This is almost the same expiations and fines are spent on dog funds are paid from cat registrations.) as the previous year. and cat management. The delivery of services provided by Council’s animal Monies are available from this fund CAT CONTROL AND management services are subsidised by to Councils for specific projects and MANAGEMENT the community. initiatives. Council’s Cats By-law (By-law No It is envisaged that the actions contained EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT 6) requires cats over the age of in the Dog and Cat Management Plan three months to be registered and 2018-23 are able to be funded from The hills area of the City of Mitcham is microchipped. In addition, only two within the existing animal management located in a designated Higher Fire Risk cats may be kept at an address without budget with the exceptions being: Area. Some Council services in these parts Council approval unless conditions of the Council area are restricted during + The development of the dedicated periods of Catastrophic and Extreme Fire outlined in the By-law are met. dog park in the hills; and; Danger Warning. This includes routine The Act provides for the detention/ animal management matters. + The enhancement of existing off removal of cats from remote or fragile leash areas (depending on level on Council’s website provides information areas and in relation to unidentified cats enhancement). on planning for pets in emergencies. in other areas. Those key performance measures Council has cat traps available for hire for outside the animal management budget residents to manage cats trespassing on would be delivered through separate their property. deliberations of Council through the At this time, Council does not provide budget bid process. facility to detain cats. Residents are Council pays 20% of funds received advised to take unowned cats to the from dog registrations to the Dog and RSPCA shelter at Lonsdale. 4.5 SECOND DOG PARK The off leash areas available for areas in general than on establishing following Hills area parks/reserves: exercising dogs in the City of Mitcham are a second dog park. It found that the + Hawthorndene Oval; listed in Appendix 1. provision of safe off leash parks within walking distance of home and with + Hannaford Park; In 2009, the City of Mitcham opened supporting infrastructure would be of its first dedicated enclosed dog park at + Blackwood Hill Oval; more benefit to residents than a second CC Hood Reserve, Panorama. An enclosed dog park. The primary reason for this is + Sherwood Road Reserve; dog park is a type of off leash area which that convenience was the major factor in has been specifically set aside for dogs + Donnybrook Road Reserve; determining which parks Mitcham’s dog and their owners and is fully enclosed owners visit. + Bailey Reserve; or fenced. On 13 December 2016, Council + Blackwood Hill Oval; The last Dog and Cat Management considered the Balancing Act Adelaide Plan 2012-2017 foreshadowed the + Suffolk Reserve; (October 2016) report and resolved development of a second dog park that a second dog park in the hills area + Ossie Goldsworthy Reserve or during the life of the plan. To this end, of the City of Mitcham be identified Johnson Parade Reserve; and Balancing Act Adelaide was commissioned and included in the next Dog and Cat in 2016 to determine the need for + Archibald Park. Management Plan 2018-2023. Council additional dog off-leash areas in also endorsed the provision of additional The report concluded that whilst none Mitcham, including a second designated community education and dog off-leash of the parks/reserves were without enclosed dog park. Their investigations areas with supporting infrastructure and issues, four were more suitable for included a survey of residents which that their location and development be further investigation by Council. These resulted in 378 completed surveys. identified and included in the next Dog are the ones bolded above. The report The Balancing Act Adelaide (October and Cat Management Plan (subject to also concluded that some of the reserves 2016) report supports the provision of budget bids). could be enhanced over time to become additional off-leash areas in Mitcham safe, informal off leash exercise areas This led to a further assessment by and the extension of existing off with supporting infrastructure. Balancing Act Adelaide (February 2017) leash times. It further recommended of nine parks/reserves within the hills This Plan’s recommendations in relation that greater attention be placed on area for their suitability as an enclosed to a second dog park are contained in augmenting and improving off-leash dog park. Their report considered the Sections 5.5 and 6.2.
Dog and Cat Management Plan 2018-2023 | 13 4.6 STAKEHOLDERS AND PARTNERS The organisations with an involvement NEIGHBOURING COUNCILS DOG OBEDIENCE CLUBS AND in or interface with animal management There is potential to share information TRAINERS are listed below. Building partnerships and clarifying the Council’s role can and resources with neighbouring Dog obedience clubs help dog owners improve outcomes and achieve a more Councils; whether formally or informally. to train their dogs. Whilst there are no effective use of resources. dog obedience clubs within the Mitcham ANIMAL WELFARE Council area there are in neighbouring THE DOG AND CAT ORGANISATIONS districts. MANAGEMENT BOARD These include (but are not limited to): There are also private dog training The functions of the Dog and Cat + The RSPCA South Australia; companies that provide private training Management Board are to: and group classes. + The Animal Welfare League of South + Plan for, promote and provide advice Australia; EMERGENCY SERVICES about, the effective management of + Lost Dogs of Adelaide; ORGANISATIONS dogs and cats; Organisations such as the Metropolitan + Oversee the administration and + Lost Pets of South Australia; Fire Service (MFS), Country Fire Serve enforcement of the provisions of + Cats Assistance to Sterilise (C.A.T.S.); (CFS) and the State Emergency Service [the] Act relating to dogs; and (SES) attend fires and provide help + Inquire into and consider all during declared and other emergencies + The National Desexing Network. proposed by-laws referred to it under and bushfire incidents. Pet owners in fire [the] Act, with a view to promoting Animals that are unowned or cannot be risk areas have a number of challenges the effective management of dogs reunited with their owner are handed that should be included in their bush fire and cats, and, to the extent that the to the RSPCA or Animal Welfare League response plans. Board considers it appropriate, the for rehoming after the statutory holding consistent application of by-laws period has expired. COMMUNITY GROUPS AND throughout South Australia; VOLUNTEERS LOCAL GOVERNMENT There are a number of community groups + Advise the Minister or the LGA, ASSOCIATION that can have an interest in and interface either on its own initiative or at the request of the Minister or the The Local Government Association with Council’s management of dogs and LGA, on the operation of [the] Act or provides services, support and leadership cats. Volunteers can also help to improve issues directly relating to dog or cat to South Australian Councils. animal management outcomes. management in South Australia; It has introduced the My Local Services PET OWNERS + Undertake or facilitate research App which can provide a range of Council information including Council facilities, Pet owners have a number of obligations relating to dog or cat management; events, and procedures. in relation to their pets. These include + Undertake or facilitate educational caring for the pets’ health and programs relating to dog or cat LOCAL GOVERNMENT wellbeing and compliance with relevant management; AUTHORISED PERSONS legislation. + Keep [the] Act under review and ASSOCIATION (APA) make recommendations to the The APA facilitates professional Minister with respect to the Act and development of members and seeks regulations made under the Act; and to facilitate sharing of information + Carry out any other function assigned and resources and standardised work to the Board by the Minister or by or practices amongst Councils. under [the] Act. MICROCHIP IMPLANTERS AND A proportion of the funds collected from VETERINARIANS the Council’s animal registrations are paid to the Board. Approved microchip implanters (including veterinarians) will be required The Board audits the Council’s animal to upload the details of the animals they management service. microchip on to DACO. Veterinarians will also be required to upload the details of From 2018 the Board will be responsible the animals they desex. for the new DACO registration system. Veterinarians are usually an early point of contact for owners of puppies and kittens and could assist with making the Council’s education material available. Some veterinary clinics run puppy pre- school classes which provide owners of puppies with information on raising dogs and early socialisation classes.
14 | Dog and Cat Management Plan 2018-2023 5 INVESTIGATIONS AND COMMUNITY FEEDBACK 5.1 STATISTICS Appendix 3 provides the full compilation of Council’s animal management statistics for the last three years. The following is a summary. Mitcham performs well on most measures against statewide averages. 2014 2015 2016 STATISTICS /2015 /2016 /2017 Total dog registrations 9663 9720 9718 Total number of expiations issued 458 360 382 Number of court cases won 1 0 0 Total court actions for the year 1 0 0 Number of official barking dog complaints received 47 37 33 Number of official wandering dog complaints received 202 189 193 Number of dogs collected and returned to owner before impounded 112 123 117 Total number of dogs impounded 92 66 76 Total number of dogs impounded and subsequently returned to the owner 82 55 61 Number of reports of dog harassment to humans 4 9 13 Number of reports of dog attacks on humans 13 14 14 Number of reports of dog harassment to animals 1 1 0 Number of reports of dog attacks on animals 24 23 19 Number of Dog Management Officers (FTE) 2 2 2 Number of cat complaints 54 232 132 Number of cats registered 2451 2495 2573 Number of Cat Management Officer(s) (FTE) 0.6 0.6 0.6
Dog and Cat Management Plan 2018-2023 | 15 5.2 OUTCOMES OF THE 2012-2017 PLAN The 2012-2017 Plan had nine key result achieved of both a 5% decrease in the targets for decreasing the number areas, a summary of the key performance number of dog attacks causing injury, of dogs and entering shelters, and indicator achievements of each is and a 5% decrease in the number of increasing the number of returned/ provided below. wandering dogs at large. re-homed dogs and cats. + Key result area 1: Increasing + Key result area 4: Managing dogs + Key result area 8: Training animal registration and microchipping. in public places. Council achieved its management officers. Council Both targets for cats and dogs were target of no increases in the number completed a skills audit for Council’s achieved. of expiations relating to dogs in compliance unit staff and produce a public places. gap analysis of skills. This has resulted + Key result area 2: Encouraging in ongoing animal management responsible pet ownership. Council + Key result area 5: Managing barking officer’s skills training. achieved all of its KPIs, which dogs. Council achieved its target included education in all schools of no increases in the number of + Key result area 9: Implementing the in Mitcham, developing and barking dog complaints. plan. Following obtaining approval implementing a code of conduct in from the Dog and Cat Management + Key result area 6: Managing cats. relation to dogs in public spaces, Board, Council implemented the Targets for increased numbers of cat investigating using technology for 2012-2017 Animal Management registration and returned/re-homed education, and reviewing all of Plan by assigning responsibility cats were achieved. Council achieved Council’s education material. to a nominated Council officer, its targets of no increases in the establishing a project team, and + Key result area 3: Protecting the number of cat complaints. establishing a data collection community from dog attacks and + Key result area 7: Caring for lost and framework for monitoring and dangerous dogs. Targets were unwanted pets. Council achieved its annual review of the plan. 5.3 COMMUNITY FEEDBACK The community had two opportunities to APRIL-MAY 2017 The survey and a more detailed provide input into the draft Plan. description of the feedback is contained A “Have your Say” Community Survey in Appendix 2. 124 completed surveys The first round of community was undertaken in April/May 2017. It were received. The following is a engagement occurred in April-May 2017 was promoted by all the touchpoints summary of the results. as the draft was being prepared. identified in Council’s Engagement and Communication Strategy. More Respondents were asked to rate a range The second round occurred in November- than 12,000 SMS messages were sent of animal management issues as high, December 2017 and sought feedback on to registered dog and cat owners in medium or low priority. The number of the draft Plan. Mitcham. responses to each (out of a maximum This section summarises the results and possible of 124) is reproduced below. feedback received. SECOND LEAST TOP HIGHEST HIGHEST PRIORITIES PRIORITY PRIORITY PRIORITY More off leash areas with supporting infrastructure 50 44 19 Additional community education 44 25 53 Dog park in the hills 24 41 39 The strongest themes and issues raised in + Excessive barking; + Unremoved dog faeces in reserves the qualitative feedback include: and footpaths. + Effective control of dogs in off leash + Wandering cats/mandatory cat areas; This feedback was considered in the confinement required; development of the draft Plan. + More off leash / less off leash areas; and
16 | Dog and Cat Management Plan 2018-2023 5.3 COMMUNITY FEEDBACK CONTINUED NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2017 The reasons given including a lack of + 24% (11 out of 46) do not support cat consultation with surrounding residents, confinement at all; Comment was sought on the draft Plan impact on residential amenity (traffic/ in November-December 2017. Key + 72% (33 out of 46) support parking, noise and visual impact of stakeholders, MPs, community groups some form of a cat confinement fencing and dog infrastructure, safety and media outlets were contacted and a requirement; for children and local dogs, inadequate SMS message was sent to all registered drainage, grass damage, declining + 30% (14 out of 46) support a night dog and cat owners requesting feedback property values, impacts on historical curfew only; on the draft Plan. An advertisement was legacy of the park, impacts in native also placed in the Messenger. Feedback + 28% (13 out of 46) support a 24-hour fauna and impacts on sporting activities. was accepted via Council’s website. requirement; Therefore the Plan recommends that 110 responses were received. + 7% (3 out of 46) support 24-hour further targeted consultation occur in confinement only if Council assists Two major issues were addressed in the relation to potential improvements/ with the implementation of submissions: upgrading of Hannaford Park and its enclosures in yards; suitability for an enhanced dog off leash + Whether Hannaford Park should area. + 4% of these submissions (2 out of be considered as a priority location 46) said that there is not enough for a second dog park (35% of Whilst the response rate received during information or research available for submissions); and Council’s own final stage consultation Council to propose a cat confinement in Nov/Dec 2018 was supportive of + Whether a cat confinement requirement. Hannaford Park being a dedicated dog requirement should be considered park, the response numbers were low. The Plan recommends that a cat part of the 2023 Cat By-law review If one then considers the additional 193 confinement requirement be considered (42% of submissions). signatures of the local petition, not in as part of the 2023 Cat By-law review In relation to Hannaford Park: favour, administration believed there taking into account scientific evidence is more support for Hannaford Park to and resourcing implications. Further + 35% (39 out of 110) explicitly become an enhanced dog off leash area community feedback will also be sought mentioned Hannaford Park as a dog than a dog park (this is supportive of the via targeted community engagement. park; findings of Balancing Act Adelaide‘s report A range of other comments resulted in + 62% (24 out of 39) were in favour of of 2016). minor changes to the draft. Hannaford Park as a fenced off leash In relation to a cat confinement dog park; requirement: + 38% (15 out of 39) were not in favour + 42% of total submissions (46 out of Hannaford Park as a dog park. of 110) explicitly mentioned cat confinement; 5.4 STAFF FEEDBACK Council staff are able to provide valuable + Council receives a large number + Education: look at a series of small input on trends, issues and possible of complaints about cats. Most initiatives that could be undertaken priorities and initiatives. The priorities are about trespass on neighbours’ over the life of the Plan eg: identified by Council staff include: properties. It would be appropriate + This is what we expect to be a to consider a cat confinement + Effective control of dogs in public responsible dog or cat owner requirement (whether 24/7 or just at places is an ongoing issue; (could be a video); night). This could occur via a by-law + More consideration of the benefits of or a forthcoming change to the Local + An open forum on barking pet ownership would be appropriate; Government Act that picks up the with an animal behaviourist in order making process in the Local attendance. Government Act; and
Dog and Cat Management Plan 2018-2023 | 17 5.5 DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS OVERVIEW CAT CONFINEMENT EDUCATION IN RESPONSIBLE Council has performed well on all the Key It is considered that there is a case to PET OWNERSHIP Action Area‘s in the current Dog and Cat consider introducing a cat confinement Council undertakes a range of measures Management Plan 2012-17 and against requirement in Mitcham. Council receives designed to educate the community the animal management measures a high number of complaints about cats. in responsible pet ownership. These collated by the Board compared to other This is mostly about cats wandering on to activities and material will continue and Councils and on the statewide averages. neighbouring properties. This was also will be reviewed and improved where There appears to be no stand out issues a key theme in the feedback from the this is warranted. that are considered to warrant urgent community. attention. For the life of the next Plan, it is Confinement of cats to the home recommended that Council focus on MANDATORY DESEXING property is widely seen as the most disseminating the new requirements effective means of reducing the risk of to the community. The reason for AND IDENTIFICATION - cats preying on wildlife. However it can this is that there is already confusion FORTHCOMING be difficult for owners to confine cats that in the community about different These are significant changes to current are used to roaming. animal management requirements1 requirements. They come into operation eg what is a statewide versus a local At the time of writing, only one Council in 2018 and will apply statewide. They requirement, what is required compared in South Australia (Kangaroo Island) has will need to be an early focus of the to what is only encouraged, differences a 24-hour cat confinement requirement. Plan. New procedures and community between municipalities and different However, night curfews have been education will be required. requirements applying to dogs compared introduced by Flinders Ranges and to cats. Even the difference between DACO – FORTHCOMING Whyalla Councils whilst in Victoria, four registration and microchipping is a Councils have 24 hour confinement DACO is a centralised Dog and Cat Online known cause for confusion as to the new requirements and seven Councils have data base system for registration of dogs desexing requirement which will only night curfews. and cats (if cat registration applies). apply to new generations of dogs and DACO is to be introduced as of 1 July The mechanism for doing this could cats born after the 1 July 2018. 2018. The move to state wide online dog be via an amendment to the existing It is considered that a comprehensive registration is another significant change Council by-law. and integrated program is required to animal management. New systems, Council would not decide on a cat to educate the community about the procedures and community education confinement requirement by approval existing and new animal management will be required and acknowledged in of this Plan. The recommendation in the requirements. This dovetails with staff the new plan. Plan provides for review of the by-law feedback that there be a simple “these to include the suggested requirement. are your responsibilities” message Further consultation with the community disseminated to the community. would be required as part of this process. This could be undertaken with neighbouring Councils and other stakeholders to share resources and disseminate a consistent message tailored to local requirements. 1. CONFUSION ABOUT ANIMAL MANAGEMENT REQUIREMENTS WAS CONFIRMED IN THE 2014 CAT OWNERS SURVEY UNDERTAKEN BY THE BOARD.
18 | Dog and Cat Management Plan 2018-2023 5.5 DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS CONTINUED DOG PARK It was recommended by Balancing DOGS ACCESS Section 4.5 summarises the background Act Adelaide that Hannaford Park be TO PUBLIC PLACES considered for enhancement to off leash. to the establishment of a second dog This would improve the opportunities In line with the feedback received in the park in the hills area of Mitcham Council. available in the hills for people to exercise online survey, Council will consider if it is This work was done during the life of their dogs and is consistent with the possible to achieve additional off-leash the last Plan and included two studies October 2016 study by Balancing Act spaces in Council’s reserves. conducted by Balancing Act Adelaide in Adelaide that recommended Council October 2016 and February 2017 and a It is further proposed that the supporting focus on improving the availability of infrastructure in all of Mitcham’s off Council resolution on 13 December 2016 off-leash areas generally as opposed to that a dog park be established in the hills leash areas be upgraded to include the establishing a second dedicated enclosed provision of dog play equipment, dog area of Mitcham. dog park in the Mitcham Council area. poo bags, bag dispensers, waste bins and Of the four parks/reserves that the Results of community consultation increased frequency of waste disposal. second Balancing Act Adelaide study undertaken in relation to this Plan This is because this was the most concluded were suitable for an in April/May 2017 found of the 124 frequent response in the Balancing Act enclosed dog park, Hannaford Park was respondents top priority had 50 Adelaide survey regarding improvements considered to be the most suitable. This supporting more off leash areas with to parks and reserves. This might include is because it is easy to find, accessible supporting infrastructure, 44 additional an enlargement of the existing dog park from a main road, it is a good size for community education and 24 seeking a at CC Hood Reserve. The list of off leash a dog park, it is relatively flat and it second dog park. This further reinforces parks that could be enhanced over the has established trees for shade and the findings of the October 2016 study. life of this Plan is provided in Appendix 1. an existing water supply2. However, it also has issues that would need to be In the November/December 2017 A perennial issue in animal management addressed: it has no off-street parking, consultation, there was greater support is dogs being leashed where required it abuts residential properties at close for Hannaford Park as a second dog park and under effective control in places proximity and there would be a likely than there was opposition. However, where they can be exercised off increase in traffic and car parking in a later petition (193 signatories) the leash. It was a key theme in the surrounding residential streets if off was submitted from neighbouring community feedback. It is recommended street parking was not included. residents who oppose a Dog Park at that new initiatives be considered eg: Hannaford Park. + A video on the responsibilities of Dog parks generate a significant amount of activity both in the reserve/park Therefore the Plan supports further dog owners using public spaces with and in adjoining streets – more activity targeted consultation to occur in the their dog. than occurs in informal off-leash areas. immediate vicinity of Hannaford Park + Written material featuring a range They have the potential to affect both (Reserve) with all stakeholders to of typical interactions or issues to the reserve and surrounding streets consider a range of improvements to do with the presence of dogs in and residences unless these issues are Hannaford Park as an enhanced dog Council’s reserves. These “vignettes” addressed. off leash area including new and/or could be disseminated separately or upgraded infrastructure, design and together via passive social marketing siting considerations, and improvements (eg Council’s website) and active for dog owners exercising their dogs social marketing (eg social media, at the park. If an enhanced dog off newspapers). leash area is established this would be implemented by a resolution of Council EXCESSIVE BARKING under the Council’s By-law 5, Section 8 Dog Exercise Areas. Fortunately, most barking complaints are resolved fairly easily. However, some drag out for months, are not resolved easily and can cause angst for both the complainant and dog owner. Council staff say some barking complaints could be more easily resolved if a complaint was lodged earlier. It is recommended Council hold a forum on barking inviting a range of stakeholders including animal behaviourists and would be open to the community to discuss barking issues. OTHER MEASURES CONTAINED IN THE PLAN The remainder of the Plan involves ongoing monitoring, review and improvement where possible of Council’s procedures and education material in conjunction with careful monitoring of 2. FROM THE BALANCING ACT ADELAIDE(FEBRUARY 2017) REPORT. our key performance indicators.
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