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  • Writer's pictureMagnetic Community News

Proposed changes to animal management laws

A review into animal management in Townsville has been completed with Townsville City Council proposing changes to better protect the community, the environment, and pets with irresponsible owners.

The amendments have been recommended in a committee meeting today and will go to Full Council on September 22 before inviting residents to provide feedback through Have Your Say Townsville.

Community Health, Safety and Environmental Sustainability Committee chairperson Maurie Soars said the proposed amendments had been designed to ensure that as the city grows, the animal management laws adjusted accordingly.

“With more than 32,000 registered dogs and 3,700 approved cats it’s easy to see that we are a city that loves our animal companions,” Cr Soars said.

“However, as the city grows it’s important that our local laws adjust to keep our city safe and to ensure that owners are being responsible and considerate of their neighbours.

“In 2020, Council received around 7,100 customer requests relating to animal management, which included 584 excess animal complaints and over 1,100 barking dog complaints.

“These proposed amendments to the animal management local law strikes that balance between allowing residents to keep their pets while also ensuring that it doesn’t impact the amenity of the area.”

The proposed amendments include provisions to protect native animals on Magnetic Island from wandering cats, the ability to enforce rehoming of animals, strengthening provisions around wandering animals and revisions to definitions of adequate enclosures.

“Some of the most significant amendments proposed through this report were at the request of community members, particularly the changes to cat ownership on Magnetic Island. These changes are suggested to include no new cats on the Island, the desexing of all cats currently approved, not allowing cats to visit the island and enforcement of cats being contained in a house or cat enclosure,” Cr Soars said.

“We’ve also included rehoming orders across the local government area to protect animals that are the victims of irresponsible pet ownership and have been collected by Council on several occasions after escaping their enclosures and adjusted the definition of an adequate enclosure.

“To further protect residents and animals, we’ve included limits for how many dogs a person can have under their effective control in a dog park and strengthened the seizure powers for animals that have been found in breach on numerous occasions.”

Other amendments include:

  • Reducing the maximum number of dogs and cats a person can keep on an allotment

  • No keeping large animals or roosters unless the property is zoned as rural residential or rural

  • Registration of cats

  • Kennels and catteries to only be considered for certain activities on property zoned as rural residential or rural

  • Changes to minimum standards for keeping of animals. Particularly around noise and odour

Residents will have 30 days to provide their feedback following the Full Council meeting on 22 September, with consultation closing on Friday 22 October.

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