Companion Animals Act

Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 – Section 217 Clause 1 (f)

Statement of activities relating to enforcing and ensuring compliance with the Companion Animals Act and Regulation including information on:

Lodgement of Pound data collection returns with the department

The information contained in this section of the Annual Report is reported to the Office of Local Government (OLG) in accordance with their guidelines.

Lodgement of Data relating to dog attacks with the department

Dog Attacks reported to OLG via OLG reporting system as incidents occurred.  During the reporting period there were 176 dog attacks reported to the OLG within by Shoalhaven City Council (SCC). Only dog attacks reported to Council are included in this figure.

Amount of funding spent relating to companion animal management activities

Shoalhaven City Council has spent a total of $978,440 in respect of companion animal management and related activities during the reporting period.

Companion animal community education programs carried out

With the assistance of a $5000 grant from OLG and additional Council funding, Council has been proactive, encouraging responsible pet ownership (RPO) with the launch of the “Paws & Think” campaign with a strong focus on Bite Prevention.  This includes social media, information on Council’s website, media releases and interviews, posters, brochures and flyers.  A bite awareness advertisement was run on WIN TV.  The Ranger vehicles have been adorned with pictures and information relating to RPO. Trauma puppies have been donated by the Spinners and Weavers group to give to children who are involved with dog attacks.

Responsible pet ownership education was provided at the Council Chambers to groups of primary school children in June 2018.

Rangers conduct proactive patrols of beaches to identify owner’s and their dogs not acting in accordance with the Companion Animals Act.  This is especially relevant when it is shorebird nesting season and 1,930 patrols were undertaken this financial year.

The SCC library has made available books, e-books, DVD’s and CD’s to help pet owners with a variety of dog and cat issues.  The Paws’n’Tails reading program is currently running at the Nowra library where trained volunteers provide weekly sessions for children where they read aloud to a well-trained dog.

Strategies Council has in place to promote and assist the desexing of dogs and cats

In conjunction with the AWL and RSPCA, Council rangers attended three microchipping and discounted desexing community events in November 2017, March and June 2018.  A community event, Prosperity in the Park at East Nowra, was also attended in January 2018 where information was provided about RPO.

Rangers, RSPCA shelter animal attendants (who manage Council’s pound) and administration staff regularly provide educational and regulatory information to the public during the course of their duties to promote desexing.

Owners of non-desexed pets who come to the attention of Council as a result of enforcement programs and/or Council’s regular ‘lifetime registration due’ mail-outs are encouraged to take advantage of the discounted registration fee for desexed animals.

The National Desexing Network (NDN) is also available to provide a list of vet clinics who offer discount desexing via the NDN.  A couple of clinics in the Shoalhaven participate with the NDN.

Strategies to comply with Section 64 (Companion Animals Act) to seek alternatives to euthanasia for unclaimed animals

Council’s Pound is managed by the RSPCA who have complimentary strategies in this regard.  The euthanasia rate has dropped considerably in the last few years due to their commitment.  RSPCA also has dedicated vehicles to transfer animals to other shelters to improve rehoming opportunities.

RSPCA has not renewed their contract and Council commenced operating the Shelter in June 2018.

Ranger Services promotes desexing and highlights the euthanasia problem during routine telephone enquiries about animal matters especially registration costs and during the enforcement process.

Off-Leash Areas provided in the Council area

SCC understands that it is necessary for our communities' dog owners to have access to suitable exercise and play facilities. The Access Area for Dogs Policy is developed by the Social and Infrastructure Planning Unit in consultation with the community and government agencies. Council undertook an extensive review of the policy in 2012/13 to develop more consistent and user-friendly signage.  This policy is currently being rolled out across the LGA and the policy became effective 17 February 2015.

During the operational period of the Policy, Council staff document all community correspondence include complaints and requests, this information will inform the next policy review.  Council trialled a restricted timed off leash area at Narrawallee Beach which has now been implemented.  Council's policy is available by contacting Council's customer service line or via Council's website.

Where applicable, signs are posted indicating off leash times and areas. For all remaining public areas where dogs are available to access, they must be on leash at all times.

Detailed financial information on the use of companion animals fund money for management and control of companion animals in the area

Statement of Income and Expenditure for Companion Animals for the Year Ended 30 June 2018

Item

Cost

Subtotals

TOTAL

Income

Registrations

$227,925

Fines and Costs

$231,089

Other

$28,530

Total

$487,544

Expenditure

Salaries

$418,379

On Costs

$143,092

Training and conferences

$2,220

Motor Vehicle Costs

$72,650

Pound Costs

$276,747

State Debt Recovery infringement processing fees

$17,547

Other Costs

$47,805

Total

$978,440

Surplus / (Deficit)

($490,896)