Paws for Thought

Dog on-and-off leash and cat curfew review

The Paws for Thought consultation into the review of dog on-and-off leash areas and the potential introduction of a cat curfew in the shire was held in late 2018.

Almost 700 community members completed an online survey with an extensive amount of comments being provided, and nearly 100 people provided comment on the interactive mapping tool that identified proposed dog off-leash areas. Our industry partners also provided feedback via a survey, written submissions were received, and numerous comments posted on Council’s social media. A community forum was held in Woodend where people were able to provide feedback face-to-face.

We were thrilled with the amount of feedback received on the proposed options and would like to sincerely thank the community for their input.

Funding in the 2019/20 budget will see Council move a step closer to implementing the recommendations contained in the Dog on and Off Leash and Cat Curfew Review, which was endorsed at the Ordinary Council Meeting in March 2019.

These recommendations will:

  • require dogs to be under effective control in public places
  • require dogs to be leashed in all public places except in designated off leash areas
  • prohibit dogs and cats from some public places for environmental reasons
  • introduce a sunset to sunrise cat curfew.

Over the next six months, some further work is required to finalise some of the off-leash areas and cat prohibited areas. A community education campaign will be developed and signage will be installed.

Also, funding for an additional Local Laws Officer (Ranger) will help ensure that officers are able to get out and about in the community to help to educate residents about the new controls.

The new dog control orders will become effective from 1 January 2020 and the new cat controls after 1 July 2020.