What are the anticipated benefits of the Draft 2013-17 Animal Management Plan?
The Draft Animal Management Plan 2013-17 provides a more streamlined approach that meets Council’s legislative requirements, is flexible and is able to be achieved within existing Council resources. The plan also allows Council to meet the needs of the Alexandrina community by continuing to support dog off-leash areas and reducing colonies of feral cats throughout the district.
Why are we proposing to be less prescriptive about fenced off-leash dog parks?
The 2007-12 Animal Management Plan included objectives for the installation of numerous fenced dog parks across the Council area and these projects have not been enacted due to cost implications. Council is continuing to support off-leash dog areas around the community, and may pursue fenced dog parks where there is a supported and demonstrated community need.
The new plan does not restrict the installation of fenced dog parks. In proposing less stringent requirements for fenced off-leash dog parks, Council is introducing a more flexible regime to support a range of community interests in this area, and ensuring that funding for any parks are in line with community expectations.
Why is there an issue with the current 'working dog' concession?
The working dog concession is a non-statutory requirement that is misunderstood and often not appropriately claimed by dog owners in accordance with its intended purpose. Statewide criteria does not exist for working dog concession eligibility and it is not supported as a legal requirement by the Dog and Cat Management Board.
The working dog concession is difficult to manage operationally and to remove it would enable Council to increase its service level in animal management overall. Expenses including registration can be claimed by owners of legitimate working dogs through the ATO as part of their annual tax return.
The current fee for a working dog registration is $15 which is significantly cheaper than other concessions which Council are required to offer. The current fee for a desexed dog registration is $35.50 and a full registration fee where no concessions are offered is $60.
A significant portion of the ‘working dogs’ currently registered with Council do not routinely tend to stock. Questionable working dogs on Council’s register currently include a shih tzu, a weimaraner, an akita, a greyhound, several terriers, labradors, bull mastiffs, staffys, pointers, malamutes, retrievers, dobermans and many other pets not bred or used specifically for stock droving or tending purposes. There is also an expectation that having a ‘kelpie’ or another type of sheep dog warrants the concession despite there being no intention for the dog to operate as a working dog.
Why is Council proposing to re-scope its cat management objectives?
The 2007-12 Animal Management Plan included objectives for cat micro-chipping and registration programs that have not been enacted due to cost implications. The inclusion of these requirements in the plan would present significant operational difficulties which would required additional resources that would largely be sourced from rates revenue.
The Draft 2013-17 Animal Management Plan has therefore re-scoped these objectives to ensure that cat management programs can be met without an injection of additional resources. Council is proposing to focus attention on areas of most community need, including formalising its feral cat program by including it specifically in the draft plan.
Where and when are dogs allowed off-leash within the Alexandrina region?
Dogs must be on a leash between the hours of 10am and 6pm on all of Alexandrina Council's beaches, foreshores and reserves, seven days a week throughout the year. Dogs may be off-leash and under 'effective control' at all other times.