As part of the Domestic Animal Management Plan 2021-2025 adopted by Council, several orders have been made and resolved under Section 25(2) and 26(2) of the Domestic Animals Act 1994 that now apply to dog and cat ownership in the Rural City of Benalla.
Such orders were made following a lengthy community consultation, engagement and feedback period from November to December 2021.
We will inform pet owners and visitors of the new requirements throughout 2022.
Council’s first approach for those not doing the right thing, will be to caution and educate, however fines may be issued to those who fail to comply and consistently demonstrate irresponsible pet ownership.
Responsible dog ownership
The Domestic Animal Management Plan 2021-2025 stipulates several orders around responsible dog ownership.
Dogs must be on a leash in all public spaces in Benalla Rural City, except for the designated off-leash areas (see map below)
This means dogs are to be restrained by way of cord, chain or leash not exceeding 3 metres, whenever outside of the property at which they are kept.
Even in an “off-leash” area, dogs must be put on a leash if they are within 30 metres of an organised sporting activity, a picnic or BBQ area ‘in use’, or an organised meeting such as an event held in a park. Dogs must always be on a leash within 10 metres of a playground and are not allowed to enter a children’s playground at all.
If visiting a designated off-leash area, for the safety of your dog and the wider community your pet must always be under effective control, and you must always carry a leash. Effective control means your dog must be within 50 metres of you, returns to you immediately when called and can be placed on a leash if required.
The Domestic Animal Management Plan 2021-2025 states that cats must be confined to the property of their owners at all times.
Research indicates confining cats improves their health, safety and longevity, with confined cats generally living up to three times longer than cats that roam freely.
Confining cats to their home also prevents beloved pets becoming lost, injured by car accidents, fighting with other felines, contracting fatal diseases and producing unwanted litters of kittens.
If given the opportunity, we know cats will instinctively hunt and kill wildlife, even if they are not hungry.
Contrary to popular belief, provided their basic needs are met, cats can enjoy longer and healthier lives when confined to a safe place twenty-four hours a day.
Council and your local vet can provide support and information on where to confine your cat (in the house, in an enclosure, or by ‘cat proofing’ your fences) and importantly how to train your cat to accept confinement.