Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017 2021 - October 2017 - Mornington ...

 
Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017 2021 - October 2017 - Mornington ...
Domestic Animal
Management Plan
2017 - 2021

October 2017
Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017 2021 - October 2017 - Mornington ...
Mornington Peninsula Shire acknowledges and pays respect to the Boon Wurrung /
Bunurong, the traditional custodians of these lands and waters.

This Plan was adopted by Council 24 October 2017

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Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017 2021 - October 2017 - Mornington ...
Vision
The Mornington Peninsula Shire recognises the value of pet ownership and its overall
benefit for the community’s health and wellbeing. The Shire encourages and
promotes responsible pet ownership that fosters a greater harmony and coexistence
between pet owners and non-pet owners. The Shire places a high priority on the
welfare and care of pets throughout our community.

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Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017 2021 - October 2017 - Mornington ...
Contents

About This Plan                                                                  5

About Mornington Peninsula Shire                                                 7

Engaging with our Community                                                      10

Animal Management Staffing and Structure                                         12

Current Flagship Animal Management Initiatives                                   14

Current Programs and Services                                                    16

Key Initiatives for 2017 – 2021                                                  19

Strategic Directions for Animal Management:

1. Training of Authorised Officers                                               21

2. Registration and Identification                                               24

3. Nuisance                                                                      28

4. Dog Attacks                                                                   33

5. Dangerous, Menacing and Restricted Breed Dogs                                 36

6. Overpopulation and High Euthanasia                                            39

7. Domestic Animal Businesses                                                    44

8. Other Matters                                                                 46

Objectives and Actions to Support Strategic Directions                           47

Monitoring and Evaluating the Plan                                               56

Appendices:

Appendix A: Dog Off Leash Areas                                                  59

Appendix B: Dog Prohibited Areas                                                 66

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Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017 2021 - October 2017 - Mornington ...
About This Plan
The Plan outlines Mornington Peninsula Shire’s strategic approach to the delivery of
animal management services across the municipality over the next four years.

The 2017 -2021 Plan is the Shire’s third such Plan and it recognises the importance of
achieving a reasonable balance in the way the Shire manages issues affecting both pet
owners and non-pet owners.

The Plan was developed in consultation with Councillors, and informed by research,
benchmarking and engagement activities.

Domestic animal statistics were gathered, and benchmarking undertaken. Statistics
were analysed against the municipality demographic profile.

How this Plan Aligns with Other Strategies

The Domestic Animal Management Plan provides a sound basis from which The Shire
can plan and make future decisions over the next four years, and relates back to the
wider Council policy context.

The development of the Plan is supported under the “Our Place” theme in the Council
Plan 2017-2021.

The community health benefits of pet ownership are also recognised in the Shire’s
Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2017-2021. The facilitation of responsible pet
ownership is a key action under the “We create thriving, accessible and inclusive places
to live, work and visit” strategic objective.

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Legislative Obligations
Section 68A of the Domestic Animals Act 1994 requires that the Shire prepare a
Domestic Animal Management Plan every four years. The objective of this obligation
is to increase the relative profile and importance of the domestic animal management
function in the local government sector.

The Plan supports responsible pet ownership through a range of programs, services
and awareness initiatives to:

•      Set out a method for evaluating whether animal control services provided by
       Council are adequate to give effect to the requirements of the Act and
       regulations.

•      Outline programs for the training of authorised officers.

•      Outline programs, services and strategies to:

       o      Promote and encourage responsible ownership of dogs and cats;

       o      Ensure that people comply with the Act, regulations and legislation;

       o      Minimise risk of attacks by dogs on people and animals;

       o      Address over-population and high euthanasia rates for dogs and cats;

       o      Encourage registration and identification of dogs and cats;

       o      Minimise potential for dogs and cats to create a nuisance; and

       o      Effectively identify all dangerous, menacing and restricted breed dogs
              and ensure that these dogs are kept in compliance with Act and
              regulations.

•      Provide for review of existing orders and Local Laws made under the Act.

•      Provide for review of any other matters related to management of dogs and
       cats.

•      Provide for periodic monitoring and evaluation of the Plan.

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About Mornington Peninsula Shire
Current Mornington Peninsula Shire Profile

Mornington Peninsula Shire is located at the fringe of Melbourne’s outer suburbs,
between 40 and 80 kilometres south of the Melbourne CBD.

The Shire hosts 44 towns and villages spread across the 723km2 municipality, with
much of the residential population living near the coast. The Shire is comprised of
productive rural areas, scenic landscapes, an extensive coastline as well as business
and residential areas.

Approximately 70% of the Shire is considered to be rural land, with 10% of the Shire
designated as public open space. There are areas of highly productive agricultural land,
as well as highly significant landscapes and ecosystems.

In 2016, the permanent estimated residential population was 160,8621, with 57,789
households. There is additionally a significant part-time population of approximately
50,000 people. The Shire is a premier holiday and retirement destination, with the
population swelling by up to 30% in the summer months.

The Shire has an older population than Greater Melbourne with a lower proportion of
preschoolers and a higher proportion of persons at retirement age. The median age
is 46 years. Only 13% of residents live in medium or high-density housing, compared
to 33% in Greater Melbourne. 72% of households are purchasing or fully own their
home.

The Shire has 953 Aboriginal residents (2011) with more than half this population aged
less than 30 years.

38,000 residents have some form of disability, with 6,921 requiring assistance with
daily activities. The majority of these people are aged over 65 years.

1
    Community Profile ID – ABS Estimated Resident Population 2016

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Domestic Animals Snapshot

  Domestic Animal Snapshot – Mornington Peninsula Shire Council
                                                                     2016-2017
  Population                                                         160,862 (ABS ERP)
  Number of households                                               57,789
  Geographic area of municipality                                    723km2
  EFT Authorised Shire Rangers                                       6.3
  (including Seniors)                                                (ie. 60% workload of
                                                                     10.5 Shire Rangers)
  EFT Authorised Shire Rangers per 1000 households                   0.11
  Hours of animal management training per Shire Ranger               12
  Number of dog complaints, requests, infringements                  4,500
  Number of cat complaints, requests, infringements                  1,417
  Number of dog or cat complaints or requests                        945
  per Shire Ranger (excluding impoundments)
  Number of registered dogs                                          28,871
  Number of registered declared dogs                                 26
  (dangerous, menacing or restricted breed)
  Number of dog attacks                                              363
  Number of registered cats                                          6,866
  Keeping of animals / excess animals permits issued                 89
  Number of registered Domestic Animal Businesses                    20
  Number of Domestic Animal Business inspections                     20
  Number of successful prosecutions                                  47 (plus 2 pending)
  Dogs - impounded                                                   1019
  Dogs – direct adoptions                                            27
  Dogs – rescue group adoptions                                      94
  Dogs – returned to owner / agent                                   870
  Dogs – euthanased                                                  17
  Cats – impounded                                                   638
  Cats – direct adoptions                                            74
  Cats – rescue group adoptions                                      291
  Cats – returned to owner / agent                                   101
  Cats – euthanased                                                  129
  Number of cat cages issued                                         467

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Mornington Peninsula Shire in the Future
It is estimated that the population in the Shire will grow to 178,1462 by 2036. This
represents a population increase across the municipality of 11% over the next 19
years. The highest population growth is expected for the areas of Dromana, Safety
Beach, Mornington, Mount Martha and Hastings.

A growing resident population, and increasing numbers of visitors to the Shire may in
future impact the demand for use of open space facilities. This includes residents and
visitors who walk their dogs in parks and foreshore areas. It is imperative that areas
where dogs are walked are suitable, safe, and equipped with appropriate facilities for
dogs and dog owners. Council will continue to implement initiatives to reduce the
potential of nuisance complaints, dog aggression complaints and dog waste in Shire
managed public places.

Unowned and feral cats will continue to be both a nuisance for the community and an
environmental problem without adequate management into the future. The Shire will
focus on responsible cat ownership as a priority by implementing a range of initiatives.

The Shire will continue to strengthen its partnerships with key external stakeholders
to improve the rates of reuniting pets with their owners and reduce the number of
unclaimed pets being euthanased.

The Shire proactively provides a range of online services to the community, and
engages through social media channels. While the demand for online services will
continue to increase, it is important to ensure that we support all people, with a
particular focus on those with limited online access or ability.

2
    Community Profile ID – ABS Population Forecasts

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Engaging with our Community
The Shire is committed to listening to our community and key stakeholders. Strategies
were developed and refined in consultation with:
   · The Mornington Peninsula Shire community.
   · Key external stakeholders.
     (eg. animal groups, animal-related businesses and services)
   · Council’s Shire Ranger Team.
   · Community Animal Shelter and Pound Team.
   · Internal Council stakeholders and Councillors.

Councillors, Shire Ranger Team, Community Animal Shelter and Pound
Team, and Internal Council Stakeholders
Councillors, The Shire Ranger Team and Internal Council Stakeholders participated in
workshops in relation to the key animal management issues in the municipality, to
develop strategies to address these issues as part of this Plan.

Internal Council Stakeholders were also invited to participate in an online survey to
gain specific feedback on the strategic directions outlined in the draft Plan.

Key External Stakeholders
Over 120 external stakeholders (eg. animal groups, animal-related businesses) were
invited via email or post to participate in the consultation process, to gain specific
feedback on the strategic directions outlined in the draft Plan.

Community Engagement Methodology
Feedback was sought from across the municipality so that the Shire could seek opinion
on the strategic directions outlined in the draft Plan.

A questionnaire was developed and made available online via The Shire’s website from
14 September to 12 October 2017. A hard copy survey was also made available for
completion via the Shire’s Customer Service Centres.

A total of 137 valid responses was received via the online survey, 87.3% from Shire
residents. Several written and email submissions were received in addition to the
online survey.

Outcomes of the survey responses were used to inform refinement of strategies
outlined in the draft Domestic Animal Management Plan.

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Community Engagement – Summary of Key Results
137 responses were received to the online survey, 87.3% from Shire residents. The
data indicates that respondents believe the proposed key initiatives in the Plan to be
either Effective or Very Effective.
The initiatives considered to be most effective are:
· Review existing off leash and prohibited areas for dogs and develop criteria for
  assessing suitability and design of new areas to improve responsible pet
  ownership.
· Provide ongoing training to Council staff responsible for domestic animal
  management.
· Identify illegally operating Domestic Animal Businesses in the municipality.
· Undertake activities to increase rates of desexing and microchipping to improve
  responsible pet ownership.
· Undertake activities to increase registration compliance to improve responsible
  pet ownership.
· Raise community awareness on impact of feral and semi-owned cat populations
  and cat confinement and expand cat cage program with focus on service
  accessibility.
Written submissions were received regarding a number of issues, including:
· Removing the winter time restriction at McCrae leash free dog area;
· Impacts of feral cats on local wildlife; and
· Opposing mandatory desexing of dogs.
Qualitative feedback from the community indicates that the pet related issues of
highest concern are:
· Providing effective enforcement of regulations.
· Enhancing communication, education and awareness initiatives.
· Dogs that are aggressive to people and other pets;
· The need to reduce the number of unclaimed and surrendered pets being
  euthanised;
· The need to improve the manner in which the Shire deals with cats at large and cat
  management services;
· The need to continually work towards reducing nuisances associated with dogs and
  cats;
· Impacts of unowned/feral pets on local environments; and
· Providing better access to, design and management of leash-free areas.

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Animal Management Staffing and Structure
The Shire Ranger and Community Animal Shelter teams at Mornington Peninsula Shire
forms part of the Environmental Protection Unit. The team is comprised of:
   · Team Leader Shire Rangers (1.0 FTE)
   · Team Leader Special Projects (1.0 FTE)
   · Senior Shire Ranger (2.0 FTE)
   · Shire Ranger (8.5 FTE)
   · Community Animal Shelter Coordinator (1.0 FTE)
   · Community Animal Shelter Officers (2.5 FTE)
   · Senior Administration Officer (1.0 FTE)
   · Administration Officer (4.0 FTE – shared pool)

Shire Ranger Team

It is estimated that approximately 60% of the Shire Rangers’ workload is dedicated to
domestic animal management.

Shire Ranger animal management services are provided 24/7. A response is provided
by Shire Rangers for animal complaints including but not limited to dogs at large, dog
aggression complaints, nuisance complaints, and animal welfare RSPCA referrals.
Shire Rangers also collect injured animals that are in a public place and are not in the
care of their owner, including coordination of emergency after hours veterinary care
as required.

Shire Rangers have access to in-field technology to assist with identifying and returning
animals to their owners. Where appropriate, Shire Rangers attempt to reunite pets
with their owners without taking to the Community Animal Shelter and Pound.

Shire Rangers undertake proactive initiatives to minimise nuisance and risk to the
safety of the community. This includes education and provision of advice, negotiation
with residents, and proactive patrols of parks and foreshore areas – with an extended
focus during summer and other peak periods.

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Community Animal Shelter and Pound Team

The Community Animal Shelter and Pound Team provide service seven days each
week, and are aided by a dedicated group of community volunteers.

 The tradition of volunteering is strong on the Mornington Peninsula and assisting at
the Community Animal Shelter not only improves the welfare of animals but also
provides volunteers with the opportunity to share their time and expertise with like-
minded people.

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Current Flagship Animal Management Initiatives
Community Animal Shelter and Pound
The Shire-run Community Animal Shelter and Pound has been caring for pets for more
than 30 years, and places a high priority on the welfare and care for lost pets. Council
attempts to first reunite pets in the field through the Shire Rangers where appropriate.

Every animal received at the facility goes through a comprehensive checklist of care,
including:
   · Receiving immediate medical care through a Vet if they are sick or injured.
   · Being photographed for identification and posted online
     www.petrescue.com.au and www.mornpen.vic.gov.au
   · Having a second microchip scan.
   · Having their eating, toilet and general behaviour monitored and recorded in
     conjunction with Vets, and an individualised Health Management Plan.

The Community Animal Shelter and Pound works closely with over 50 volunteer rescue
groups in an effort to rehome unclaimed domestic pets.

The Shire manages the Community Animal Shelter and Pound in accordance with the
Code of Practice for the Management of Dogs and Cats in Shelters and Pounds, and is
recognised in the industry as maintaining the highest standards.

The Shire invested approximately $900,000 to upgrade the facilities of the Community
Animal Shelter and Pound in 2017 to include:
   · A spacious reunite area.
   · Temperature controlled housing for unclaimed pets awaiting ‘rescue’ from 50-
     plus Volunteer Rescue Groups across Victoria or direct adoption from the
     Animal Shelter (features 34 dedicated individual cattery enclosures, including
     two independent quarantine rooms that are industry best practice).
   · A new direct adoption area.
These new features help to ensure the highest level of animal welfare for pets who are
in temporary care.

The Community Animal Shelter and Pound is open to the public 7 days by
appointment, and are currently trialing Saturday mornings without appointment
(closed Good Friday and Christmas Day). The appointment system is in place to ensure
that customers do not have to wait to be assisted and to practically manage the
adoption process by providing discretion and privacy for pet owners.

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Mornington Peninsula Community Dog Club
The Mornington Peninsula Community Dog Club was formed as a partnership between
the Shire and a number of local dog enthusiasts. The purpose is to provide a free
responsible dog ownership training course for people with untrained adult dogs (often
problem dogs), and to provide ongoing fun activities to encourage dog owners to be
more actively involved with their pets.

The Shire’s Responsible Dog Ownership programme, conducted by the Mornington
Peninsula Community Dog Club with the assistance and support from Council officers,
is available at no cost to dog owners residing in all parts of the Mornington Peninsula
Shire. The Club is attended by people and their dogs from many of our Peninsula
townships and villages.

These continuing eight-week programs provide basic dog obedience training and
socialisation, introduction to fun activities for dogs and their owners, basic pet health
care information (provided by a local Vet), and information on dog related legislation
(provided by Shire Rangers).

This volunteer program is an integral part of the Shire’s effort to highlight the
importance of training and exercise as key issues for responsible pet ownership within
the community.

The Shire supports the provision of these activities as such programs help to reduce
nuisance issues associated with bored and non-socialised pets in our community, as
well as providing activities with positive cardiovascular benefits for dog owners and
their dogs.

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Current Programs and Services
A comprehensive list of our current domestic animal management programs and
services are listed below:

  Program                          Service Level to Community
  Identification and         · Annual registration renewal notices, and follow up
  Registration                 process via email for lapsed registrations.
                             · Lifetime registration tags.
                             · Online registration forms and system available for
                               renewals (not new registrations).
                             · Amendments to existing registrations can be made
                               via email.
                             · Promote animal registrations through door knocks
                               and during animal complaint investigations.
                             · Assess and issue excess animal permits.
  Animal Nuisance Complaints · Response within 7 days.
  (including barking dogs)   · Online FAQ / help information.
                             · Online system for lodging complaints.
  Dog Complaints             · Urgent cases require response within 1 hour.
  (dog wandering / attacks / · Otherwise, response within 1 day.
  rushes)                    · Online system for lodging complaints.

  Patrols of Foreshores and        · Proactive patrols of parks, reserves and foreshore
  Public Reserves                    areas where the Shire is land manager to ensure
                                     dogs are under effective control by their owners.
                                   · Extended patrols during peak / summer periods -
                                     with a particular focus on foreshore areas.
  Community Animal Shelter         · A Council-operated service for more than 30 years,
  and Pound                          with new cattery facilities opened August 2017.
                                   · Community engagement via volunteer program.
  130 Watt Road                    · Provide a municipal pound service to hold lost pets.
  Mornington                       · Advertise lost pets by photograph online at the
                                     main Shire website www.mornpen.vic.gov.au
  (Call 1300 850 600)              · Rehome suitable, unwanted pets through
                                     collaboration with over 50 rescue groups.
                                   · Ensure pets available for adoption are vet checked,
                                     de-sexed, vaccinated, wormed, temperament
                                     tested and micro-chipped and advertised online at
                                     www.petrescue.com.au

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· Hold dangerous animals while legal investigations
                                     and prosecution are conducted.
                                   · Provide an Emergency Relief Centre in the event of
                                     an emergency for displaced people and animals.
                                   · Open 7 days by appointment, and trialling Saturday
                                     mornings without appointment.
                                   · Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day.
  Education and Promotion          · Shire Rangers and the Community Animal Shelter
                                     and Pound team educate and raise community
                                     awareness regarding responsible pet ownership and
                                     animal behaviour through:
                                       o Interactions whilst out in the community
                                         including provision of advice and specialist
                                         technical knowledge.
                                       o        Presentations to schools and community
                                                groups.
                                   · Animals Communications Calendar including but not
                                     limited to a range of activities across the year:
                                       o        Social media.
                                       o        Media releases.
                                       o        Adverts.
                                       o        Shire Ward newsletters
                                       o        Around Our Shire publication
                                       o        Peninsula Wide publication
                                       o        Telephone on-hold messages
                                   · Community Animal Shelter visits / tours.
                                   · Support for Community Dog Club (dog obedience).
                                   · Provision of Pooch Pouches (for dog poo removal).
                                   · Website information.
                                   · Educational materials at vets, libraries and
                                     customer service offices.
  After Hours Services             · Shire Rangers provide a 24/7 response to animal
  (Call 1300 850 600)                complaints including:
                                       o Dogs at large
                                         (off-leash and unsupervised in a public space).
                                       o    Animal aggression.
                                       o    Nuisance complaints.
                                       o    Livestock on roads.
                                       o Animal welfare concerns: investigate and refer
                                         to RSPCA.
  Wandering Cat Complaints         · Cat cages are available for the public to utilise to
                                     confine nuisance, unowned or feral cats.

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· Strict protocols are in place governing the use of
                                     these cages to ensure that the welfare of the
                                     confined cats is protected.
                                   · Online system for lodging complaints.
  Domestic Animal Business         · Inspect and process new Domestic Animal Business
  Inspections                        applications.
                                   · Shire Rangers conduct annual audits and issue
                                     annual registration certificates.
                                   · Respond to and investigate complaints.
                                   · Actively seek and identify illegal domestic animal
                                     businesses and prosecute where appropriate.
  Declared Dogs                    · Assess and declare relevant dogs as either
  (Dangerous / Menacing or           dangerous/menacing dogs or restricted breeds and
  Restricted Breed)                  enter these details into the Victorian Declared Dog
                                     Register.
                                   · Provision of information to owners of declared dogs
                                     outlining responsibilities, and penalties for non-
                                     compliance.
                                   · Annual inspections undertaken in accordance with
                                     Domestic Animals Act 1994.
  Prosecutions                     · Shire Rangers prosecute breaches of the Domestic
                                     Animals Act 1994.
  Dogs on / off leash              · Orders are in place restricting dogs off leash to
                                     designated areas and times in certain reserves and
                                     beach areas.
  Dogs not allowed in some         · Orders are in place prohibiting dogs in certain
  areas                              reserves and beach areas.

  Cats not allowed in some         · S173 Planning Scheme exclusions in place that do
  areas                              not allow cats to be present in designated areas.

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Key Initiatives for 2017 - 2021
Some of the key initiatives we will undertake over the next four years include:

      1       Develop a communication and education strategy around compliance
              with responsible pet ownership requirements.
      2       Review Council’s Local Laws, Orders and Processes. This may include
              consultation with the community on the costs and benefits of
              introducing mandatory desexing for newly registered dogs.
      3       Partner with other regulatory bodies to encourage a holistic approach
              to domestic animal management across the municipality.
      4       Develop a consistent approach to assess the suitability and design of
              designated off leash and prohibited areas for dogs on Shire managed
              land.
      5       Develop and implement a balanced, educative strategy to reduce issues
              arising from dogs not being under effective control in public places.
      6       Raise community awareness of dog aggression incidents and encourage
              early reporting of dog aggression in the community.
      7       Continue the enhancement of integrated animal management services
              and facilities throughout the Mornington Peninsula.
      8       Raise community awareness about feral and semi-owned cat
              populations and cat confinement, and expand the cat cage program
              with a particular focus on service accessibility.
      9       Undertake activities to increase rates of desexing and microchipping.

     10       Undertake activities to increase registration compliance.

     11       Undertake activities to identify and monitor restricted breed dogs in the
              municipality.
     12       Undertake activities to identify illegally operating Domestic Animal
              Businesses in the municipality.
     13       Continued advocacy role to State Government around domestic animal
              management issues.
     14       Support the community and companion animals in cases of hardship or
              crisis.
     15       Continue to support Shire Ranger and CAS Teams to undertake ongoing
              training and skill development.

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16       Undertake detailed workforce planning analysis to ensure effective
              animal management resourcing into the future.
     17       Enhance the animal management data collected, to facilitate improved
              analysis and planning capability.
     18       In consultation with neighbouring Councils and external stakeholders,
              implement enhancements to the Shire’s animal management programs
              and services.

Detailed Action Plans are in the Objectives and Actions to Support Strategic Directions
section of this document.

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Strategic Directions for Animal Management

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1. Training of Authorised Officers
To ensure that all staff involved in animal management have the knowledge and skills
                            necessary to carry out their work

Actions in this section address Section 68(A)(2)(b) of the Domestic Animals Act by
outlining programs for the training of authorised officers to ensure that they can
properly administer and enforce the requirements of this Act.

Current Situation
The Shire Ranger and Community Animal Shelter and Pound teams at The Shire forms
part of the Environmental Protection Unit.

It is estimated that Shire Rangers spend approximately 60% of their time on animal
management functions. This equates to 6.3FTE. Additionally, there are 3.5 FTE staff
employed to operate the Community Animal Shelter and Pound facility.

Given the diverse roles and activities undertaken by these teams, it is critical that all
staff involved in animal management have the knowledge and skills necessary to carry
out their work.

There are a number of levels at which training is carried out across both the Shire
Ranger Team and the Community Animal Shelter and Pound Team, which is based on
the current level of skills and responsibilities of each Officer. Annual reviews provide
the ability to identify skill gaps and potential opportunities for further development of
individual Officers.

The average amount of animal management training provided to Officers on an annual
basis is currently 12 hours.

Current and Ongoing Training Activities
· Shire Rangers works in accordance to the detailed guidelines provided in the
  Standard Operating Procedures manual.

· Animal management staff maintain suitable skills and knowledge through on the
  job and formal training and the Shire’s Learning and Development Program.

· Individual staff training and development programs developed and reviewed
  annually.

· Staff representation on industry boards and committees.

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Summary
Council ensures that staff are fully trained to undertake their roles effectively. Future
challenges involve developing a detailed response to the projected increase in
population and visitors to the Shire, to ensure the effectiveness of animal
management services in the future.

Plans – Training of Authorised Officers

Please refer to Objectives and Actions to Support Strategic Directions section of this
document.

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2. Registration and Identification
         To ensure all lost animals are safely and quickly returned to their owners

Actions in this section address Sections 68A(2)(c)(v) and 68A(2)(a),(c)(i),(c)(ii),(d),(f) -
by outlining services and strategies to encourage the registration and identification of
dogs and cats.

Current Situation
 Year                        Resident                     Cat            Dog    Total Registered
                          Population            Registrations   Registrations     Cats and Dogs

 2013                         152,106                   5,827         25,880             31,707

 2014                         153,749                   7,116         30,357             37,473

 2015                         155,015                   7,441         31,345             38,786

 2016                         160,862                   7,094         30,726             37,820

 2017 *                       160,862                   6,866         28,871             35,737

 % change                          + 6%                + 18%          + 12%               +13%
 2013 - 2017
*refer ABS EPR 2016 as 2017 figures not available

The number of animal registrations in the Shire has increased in greater proportion
than the resident population, since the last Plan was developed in 2013.
While the number of dogs and cats being registered has increased overall, the
proportion of unregistered and unmicrochipped animals is high amongst the pets that
are impounded at the Community Animal Shelter and Pound. This is not unexpected,
as many registered and microchipped pets are returned home by Shire Rangers and
reunited with their owners where appropriate.

 May 2016 to July 2017                                  Dogs            Cats

 Impounded                                               969             727

 Already registered                                 407 (42%)        34 (5%)

 Already microchipped                               846 (87%)      129 (18%)

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The Shire must ensure that all dogs and cats are microchipped and registered and cats
must also be de-sexed as part of the Community Animal Shelter release process (and
as part of the process for rehoming unclaimed and surrendered pets to new owners).
The Shire’s Community Animal Shelter staff can facilitate the microchipping and de-
sexing requirements for pet registration at the time of release to their owners.

The Shire’s General Purposes Local Law 2012 specifies the number of animals
permitted on a property without a permit, depending on the property land size.

                                Residential Property Land Size

                           2,500m2
                                            2,499m2

 Dogs                              1                2               3
 (over12 weeks old)
 Cats                              2                2               2
 (over 12 weeks old)

Current and Ongoing Key Programs
· Animal registration renewal notices and follow up process via email for lapsed
  registrations.

· Lifetime registration tags.

· Online registration forms and system for renewals.

· Amendments to existing registrations can be made via email.

· In-field technology for Shire Rangers, including microchip scanners to assist with
  registration compliance, and identifying and reuniting pets with their owners.

Current and Ongoing Community Education / Promotion Activities
· Animals Communications Calendar including but not limited to a range of
  activities across the year:
    o         Social media.
    o         Media releases.
    o         Adverts.
    o         Shire Ward newsletters
    o         Around Our Shire publication

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council – Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017-2021   25
24 Oct 2017
o         Peninsula Wide publication
    o         Telephone on-hold messages
    o         Website information

· Educational materials at vets, libraries and customer service offices.

· Shire Rangers educate and raise community awareness regarding responsible pet
  ownership and animal behaviour through:
    o Interactions whilst out in the community including provision of advice and
      specialist technical knowledge.
    o         Presentations to schools and community groups.

Council Orders, Local Laws and Council Policies
· General Purposes Local Law 2012.
   o Keeping of Animals - specifies the number of animals permitted on a property
     without a permit, depending on the property land size.
   o Responsible Breeding of Dogs and Cats -
        Ø Restrictions on selling or giving away dogs that have not been desexed.
        Ø Requirement to desex cats.

· Section 173 Planning Scheme exclusions are in place that do not allow cats to be
  present in designated areas.

· Shire Ranger Standard Operating Procedures / Compliance and Enforcement
  Protocols.

· Council enforces the legislative requirements of the Domestic Animals Act 1994.
   o Legislative requirement for registration of dogs and cats at age of three months.
   o Legislative requirement for microchipping of all newly registered dogs and cats.

Compliance Activities
· Regular patrols of Council parks and foreshore areas to monitor compliance –
  including increased presence during busy summer peak period.

· Promote animal registrations through door knocks and during animal complaint
  investigations.

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council – Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017-2021      26
24 Oct 2017
· Ensure all animals released from the Community Animal Shelter and Pound are
  registered, microchipped and desexed (cats) before being returned to their
  owners.

· Conduct investigation of complaints, issue cautions and infringement notices,
  prosecutions.

· Assess and issue excess animal permits.

Summary
The Mornington Peninsula Shire views pet registration and identification as a corner
stone of its domestic animal management activities. Accordingly, a number of
activities undertaken by the Shire Ranger Team and the Community Animal Shelter
and Pound Team reinforce these requirements, along with promoting the benefits of
pet registration and microchip implantation.

Given the size of the Mornington Peninsula and its diverse community, the methods
and messaging used for increasing pet registration numbers needs to be varied and
diverse to reach as many pet owners as possible. The Shire’s goals are to improve data
collection and analysis, to ensure that positive messaging, proactive programs, and
enforcement activities are specific and focused to achieve increased rates of pet
registration.

Plans – Registration and Identification
Please refer to Objectives and Actions to Support Strategic Directions section of this
document.

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council – Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017-2021      27
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3. Nuisance
         To minimise the potential for domestic animals to create a nuisance

Actions in this section address Sections 68A(2)(c)(vi) and 68A(2)(a),(c)(i),(c)(ii),(d),(f) –
by outlining programs, services and strategies to minimise the potential for dogs and
cats to create a nuisance.

Current Situation
 Dog-Related Requests                 2013 2014         2015      2016      %
 by Type                                                                    change
                                                                            2013-
                                                                            2016

 Dog at Large                         2608 2620         2530      2705      -4%

 Lost Dog                             729     689       498       714       -2%

 Barking Dog                          454     510       512       556       +22%

 Dog Attack or Rush                   422     422       364       373       -12%

 Leash Free Areas                     97      45        65        46        -12%

 Bay/Camping Dog Restrictions                           32        34        --

 Dog Faeces                           24      20        26        24        0%

 Dangerous/Menacing                   12      11        11        21        +75%

 Restricted Breed Notification        15      10        17        15        0%

 Dogs in National Parks                                           12        --

 Total dog-related requests           4361 4327         4055      4500      +3%

The Shire Ranger team responded to 4,500 dog-related requests and enquiries in 2016.

The Shire has 44 towns and villages spread across the 723km 2 municipality, with 10%
of the Shire designated as public open space. This includes an extensive coastline,
indigenous vegetation, significant parks and reserves, playgrounds and sports
grounds. Only a small percentage of these areas can be patrolled in any given period.
Although proactive patrols are undertaken, including increased patrols during the busy

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council – Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017-2021           28
24 Oct 2017
peak summer period – The Shire relies on community education and voluntary
observance of signage and regulations for animal management compliance.

The Shire has a number of designated foreshore and park areas where dog owners are
able to exercise their dogs off leash. Some of these areas are season and time
dependant. There are also a number of dog prohibited areas. Please refer to Appendix
Appendices A and B for an overview of these areas.
A growing resident population, and increasing numbers of visitors to the Shire may in
future impact the demand for use of open space facilities. This includes residents and
visitors who walk their dogs in parks and foreshore areas. It is imperative that areas
where dogs are walked are suitable, safe, and equipped with appropriate facilities for
dogs and dog owners. Council will continue to implement initiatives to reduce the
potential of dog nuisance complaints (including barking), dog aggression complaints 3
and dog waste in Shire managed public places.

The Shire also seeks to partner with other regulatory authorities and committees of
management to develop a holistic approach towards managing dog and cat issues in
public open space areas that the Shire does not manage.

    Cat-Related Requests                           2013        2014        2015         2016           %
    by Type                                                                                            change
                                                                                                       2013-
                                                                                                       2016

    Cat at large – contained                       567         563         593          640            +13%

    Cat at large – not contained                   459         442         473          499            +9%

    Lost cat                                       258         231         228          275            +7%

    Cat attack                                     3           4           2            3              --

    Total cat-related requests                     1287        1240        1296         1417           +%9

The Shire Ranger team responded to 1,417 cat-related requests and enquiries in 2016.

Feral cats have a serious impact through predation on native populations of small
mammals, birds, reptiles and fish. Cats are exceptional hunters and contribute to the
decline and extinction of many smaller native animals.
Feral animal management, undertaken by the Shire’s Natural Systems Team, occurs in
more than 200 bushland reserves under Shire management. These bushland reserves

3   Dog aggression complaints are specifically addressed in Section 4 of this document – Dog Attacks

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council – Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017-2021                                  29
24 Oct 2017
are managed for the protection and enhancement of biodiversity. Feral animal
management is undertaken within the scope of the Shire’s broader activities including
trapping.

Unowned and feral cats will continue to be both a nuisance for the community and a
negative environmental impact without adequate management into the future. The
Shire will focus on responsible cat ownership as a priority by implementing a range of
initiatives.

Council resolved in May 2017 to reallocate $80K funding previously used to run the
Peninsula Pet Expo towards the promotion of responsible pet ownership. It is
proposed that these funds be utilised to aim to reduce the problem of nuisance cats
in the community. Cats are over represented in the animal impound data, have low
reuniting rates with their owners, and are not often desexed, microchipped or
registered.

Current and Ongoing Key Programs
· Ongoing support of the Community Dog Club to facilitate the provision of free dog
  obedience programs for dog owners in the Shire.

· Provision of ‘barking dogs’ information and advice for the community.

· Cat cages are available for the public to confine nuisance, unowned or feral cats.

· Free ‘Pooch Bags’ are available for the public to encourage dog owners to pick up
  their dog’s waste in public places.

Current and Ongoing Community Education / Promotion Activities
· Animals Communications Calendar including but not limited to a range of
  activities across the year:
    o         Social media.
    o         Media releases.
    o         Adverts.
    o         Shire Ward newsletters
    o         Around Our Shire publication
    o         Peninsula Wide publication
    o         Telephone on-hold messages
    o         Website information

· Educational materials at vets, libraries and customer service offices.

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council – Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017-2021    30
24 Oct 2017
· Shire Rangers educate and raise community awareness regarding responsible pet
  ownership and animal behaviour through:
    o Interactions whilst out in the community including provision of advice and
      specialist technical knowledge.
    o         Presentations to schools and community groups.

Council Orders, Local Laws and Council Policies
· General Purposes Local Law 2012.
   o Animal excrement – pet owners are required to remove faeces from public
     places and carry a means to collect faeces.
   o Keeping of Animals - specifies the number of animals permitted on a property
     without a permit, depending on the property land size.
   o Responsible Breeding of Dogs and Cats -
        Ø Restrictions on selling or giving away dogs that have not been desexed.
        Ø Requirement to desex cats.

· Orders are in place requiring cats to be confined to owner’s premises 24 hours.
· Orders are in place restricting dogs off leash to designated areas and times in
  certain park and foreshore areas.
· Orders are in place prohibiting dogs in certain park and foreshore areas.
· Section 173 Planning Scheme exclusions are in place that do not allow cats to be
  present in designated areas .

· Shire Ranger Standard Operating Procedures / Compliance and Enforcement
  Protocols.

· Council enforces the legislative requirements of the Domestic Animals Act 1994.
   o Legislative requirement for registration of dogs and cats at age of three months.
   o Legislative requirement for microchipping of all newly registered dogs and cats.
Compliance Activities
· Proactive patrols of parks, reserves and foreshore areas where the Shire is land
  manager to ensure dogs are under effective control by their owners.
· Extended patrols during peak / summer periods - with a particular focus on
  foreshore areas.
· Permanent and temporary signage in parks and beach areas detailing on / off leash
  requirements.

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· Provision of a timely and effective response to over 5,917 dog and cat related
  requests annually.

· Cat cages are available for the public to confine nuisance, unowned or feral cats.

· Conduct investigation of complaints, issue cautions and infringement notices,
  prosecutions.

Summary
The Shire Ranger Team undertakes a range of programs and messaging opportunities
aimed at the reduction of animal nuisance in the community, and to encourage
responsible pet ownership.

Plans – Nuisance

Please refer to Objectives and Actions to Support Strategic Directions section of this
document.

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4. Dog Attacks
                  To minimise the risk of dog attacks to the community

Actions in this section address Sections 68A(2)(c)(iii) and 68A(2)(a),(c)(i),(c)(ii),(d),(f) -
by outlining programs, services and strategies to minimise the risk of attacks by dogs
on people and animals.

Current Situation
The Shire is committed to reducing the impact and injuries associated with dog attacks
in our community. We do this by means of a range of proactive messaging and
education initiatives; and thorough investigation and enforcement action against
offending dog owners.
The Shire ensures it is a high priority for Shire Rangers to have the necessary
knowledge and skills to effectively carry out the tasks associated with the investigation
of dog attacks and aggressive dog incidents, as well as the safe handling of aggressive
dogs. It is a priority for Shire Rangers to quickly investigate reported incidents of
aggression.
The Shire also recognises the Community Animal Shelter and Pound team are exposed
to ongoing risk of dog attack, specifically as a result of aggressive dogs seized and
impounded by Shire Rangers during the course of their investigations. Accordingly,
operational procedures and directions, as well as safety equipment have been put in
place at the Community Animal Shelter and Pound to minimise the risk of dog attack
on staff.

During summer and other peak periods, the Shire Ranger Team provides extended
patrols of foreshore areas and identified ‘hotspots’.

Restricted times and dates apply to many dog off leash areas across the municipality
during the warmer months, in an effort to reduce the risk of dog attack and minimise
nuisance issues. Signage is in place outlining dog off leash ‘rules’ in these areas
including specified dates and times.

 Dog-Related Requests           2013       2014      2015      2016       % change
 (relevant to dog attacks)                                                2013-
                                                                          2016

 Dog at Large                   2608       2620      2530      2705       -4%

 Dog Attack or Rush             422        422       364       373        -12%

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council – Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017-2021             33
24 Oct 2017
Current and Ongoing Key Programs
· Ongoing support of the Community Dog Club to facilitate the provision of free dog
  obedience programs for dog owners in the Shire.

· Council’s Animal Management team creates a physical presence in Council parks
  and beach areas by undertaking both scheduled and proactive patrols of areas
  experiencing emerging issues as required.

· During the summer peak period, Council’s Animal Management Team partners
  with the Summer Amenity Team to provide continuous presence on foreshore
  areas from early morning until late evening.

· Council provides advice to residents on the keeping of animals and responsible pet
  ownership.

Current and Ongoing Community Education / Promotion Activities
· SMS animal owners -regarding events where fireworks will occur.
· Animals Communications Calendar including but not limited to a range of
  activities across the year:
    o         Social media.
    o         Media releases.
    o         Adverts.
    o         Shire Ward newsletters
    o         Around Our Shire publication
    o         Peninsula Wide publication
    o         Telephone on-hold messages
    o         Website information

· Educational materials at vets, libraries and customer service offices.

· Shire Rangers educate and raise community awareness regarding responsible pet
  ownership and animal behaviour through:
    o Interactions whilst out in the community including provision of advice and
      specialist technical knowledge.
    o         Presentations to schools and community groups.

Council Orders, Local Laws and Council Policies
· General Purposes Local Law 2012.

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council – Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017-2021     34
24 Oct 2017
o Keeping of Animals - specifies the number of animals permitted on a property
     without a permit, depending on the property land size.
· Orders are in place restricting dogs off leash to designated areas and times in
  certain park and foreshore areas.
· Orders are in place prohibiting dogs in certain park and foreshore areas.
· Shire Ranger Standard Operating Procedures / Compliance and Enforcement
  Protocols.

Compliance Activities
· Proactive patrols of parks, reserves and foreshore areas where the Shire is land
  manager to ensure dogs are under effective control by their owners.
· Extended patrols during peak / summer periods - with a particular focus on
  foreshore areas.
· Permanent and temporary signage in parks and beach areas detailing on / off leash
  requirements.

· Provision of a priority response to reports of dog attacks, rushes or aggression –
  inclusive of after hours.

· Conduct investigation of complaints, issue cautions and infringement notices,
  prosecutions.

Summary
The Shire aims to address incidents of dog attack and other aggressive dog behaviour
as quickly and efficiently as possible, to reduce risks to the community.

Plans – Dog Attacks
Please refer to Objectives and Actions to Support Strategic Directions section of this
document.

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council – Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017-2021      35
24 Oct 2017
5. Dangerous, Menacing and Restricted Breed Dogs
                 To minimise the risk of dog attacks to the community

Actions in this section address Sections 68A(2)(c)(vi) and 68A(2)(a),(c)(i),(c)(ii),(d),(f) –
by outlining programs, services and strategies to effectively identify all dangerous
dogs, menacing dogs and restricted breed dogs in that district and to ensure that those
dogs are kept in compliance with this Act and the regulations.

Current Situation
Management of known risks regarding declared Restricted Breed Dogs, Dangerous
Dogs and Menacing Dogs within our community is a high priority for the Shire.
Restricted breed dogs include the following breeds:
· American Pitbull Terrier.
· Pitbull Terrier.
· Dogo Argentino.
· Japanese Tosa.
· Fila Brasileiro.
· Perro De Canario.

In 2017, the Shire has 26 registered declared dogs.

Dangerous Dog and Menacing Dog declarations are regularly used in conjunction with
prosecutions, to ensure measures are put in place to manage known risks to our
community.

Current and Ongoing Key Programs
· Provision of a priority response to notifications of potential restricted breed dogs.

· Provision of a priority response to notifications of potential menacing or dangerous
  dogs.

·   The Shire’s Animal Registration Form (for new registrations) requires all owners of
    dogs to sign a declaration stating that the dog is not a restricted breed.
    Registrations can be refused if this declaration is not signed.

· Whenever a dog is registered, which may potentially be a restricted breed, Shire
  Rangers conduct an inspection and assessment of the dog to verify whether or not
  it is a Restricted Breed Dog.

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council – Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017-2021           36
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Current and Ongoing Community Education / Promotion Activities
· Animals Communications Calendar including but not limited to a range of
  activities across the year:
    o         Social media.
    o         Media releases.
    o         Adverts.
    o         Shire Ward newsletters
    o         Around Our Shire publication
    o         Peninsula Wide publication
    o         Telephone on-hold messages
    o         Website information

· Educational materials at vets, libraries and customer service offices.

· Shire Rangers educate and raise community awareness regarding responsible pet
  ownership and animal behaviour through:
    o Interactions whilst out in the community including provision of advice and
      specialist technical knowledge.
    o         Presentations to schools and community groups.

Council Orders, Local Laws and Council Policies
· Ensure all dogs that meet the Domestic Animals Act 1994 criteria are declared
  dangerous or menacing.

· Ensure all dogs declared by Council are recorded on the Victorian Declared Dog
  Registry.

· Orders are in place prohibiting dogs in certain park and foreshore areas.
· Shire Ranger Standard Operating Procedures / Compliance and Enforcement
  Protocols.

· Community Animal Shelter Standard Operating Procedures.

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council – Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017-2021     37
24 Oct 2017
Compliance Activities
· Assess and declare relevant dogs as either dangerous/menacing dogs or restricted
  breeds and enter these details into the Victorian Declared Dog Register.

· Provision of information to owners of declared dogs outlining responsibilities, and
  penalties for non-compliance.

· Annual inspections undertaken in accordance with Domestic Animals Act 1994.

Summary
The Shire is committed to enforcing requirements under the Domestic Animals Act
1994 with regard to dangerous, menacing and restricted breed dogs.

Plans – Dangerous, Menacing and Restricted Breed Dogs

Please refer to Objectives and Actions to Support Strategic Directions section of this
document.

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24 Oct 2017
6. Overpopulation and High Euthanasia
           To reduce the number of unwanted animals that are euthanased

To encourage people to manage pets in ways that protects the health and welfare of
the animal and maximises the companion benefits of their pet

Actions in this section address Sections 68A(2)(c)(iv) and 68A(2)(a),(c)(i),(c)(ii),(d),(f)-
by outlining programs, services and strategies to address any over-population and high
euthanasia rates for dogs and cats.

Current Situation
The Shire-run Community Animal Shelter and Pound has been caring for pets for more
than 30 years, and places a high priority on the welfare and care for lost pets. Council
attempts to first reunite pets in the field through the Shire Rangers where appropriate.

The Community Animal Shelter and Pound works closely with over 50 volunteer rescue
groups in an effort to rehome unclaimed domestic pets.

The Community Animal Shelter and Pound is open to the public 7 days by
appointment, and Saturday mornings without appointment (closed Good Friday and
Christmas Day). The appointment system is in place to ensure that customers do not
have to wait to be assisted and to practically manage the adoption process.

The number of dogs impounded at the Community Animal Shelter and Pound has
remained relatively steady since 2013, whilst the number of cats impounded has
increased. The proportion of unregistered and unmicrochipped animals is high
amongst the pets that are impounded at the Community Animal Shelter and Pound.
This is not unexpected, as many registered and microchipped pets are returned home
by Shire Rangers and reunited with their owners where appropriate.

Euthanasia rates for both dogs and cats has dropped slightly since 2013. The
Community Animal Shelter and Pound euthanasia rates are consistently much lower
than other large Shelter and Pound facilities such as the RSPCA and Lost Dogs Home.

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council – Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017-2021          39
24 Oct 2017
Community Animal Shelter Statistics - Dogs

                    2013                  2014              2015             2016
 Impounded          1023                  1263              1173             1019
 Direct Adoptions                         32                22               27
 Rescue    Group    164                   125               143              94
 Adoptions
 Returned      to   830                   928               1022              870
 Owner/Agent
 Euthanised         29 (2.8%)             19 (1.5%)         25 (2.1%)        17 (1.7%)

       Community Animal Shelter Statistics - Cats

                    2013                  2014              2015             2016
 Impounded          490                   609               688              638
 Direct Adoptions                         38                58               74
 Rescue    Group    317                   264               258              291
 Adoptions
 Returned      to   70                    87                103               101
 Owner/Agent
 Euthanised         103 (21.0%)           123 (20.2%)       160 (23.2%)      129 (20.2%)

Euthanasia Rates - Benchmarking Comparison

       Dog Euthanasia Rates – benchmarking comparison
                                  2014                  2015              2016
 Mornington Peninsula Shire       1.5%                  2.1%              1.7 %
 RSPCA (National)                 14.5%                 13.0%             13%
 RSPCA (Vic)                      10%                   11%               Not Reported
 Lost Dogs Home                   13.4%                 11.8%             8.8%
 (North
 Melbourne/Cranbourne)

   Cat Euthanasia Rates – benchmarking comparison
                                  2014                  2015              2016
 Mornington Peninsula Shire       20.2%                 23.2%             20.2%
 RSPCA (National)                                       33%               29%
 RSPCA (Vic)                                            30%               Not Reported
 Lost Dogs Home                   68%                   63%               56%
 (North
 Melbourne/Cranbourne)

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council – Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017-2021             40
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