In light of a rise in the number of reported dog attacks, Council will be increasing the number of animal management officers on patrol in areas popular with dogs and their owners.
Hobsons Bay Mayor Councillor Jonathon Marsden warned that animal management officers would be issuing fines to dog owners who were behaving in ways which could pose a risk to other members of the community.
“With our beautiful beaches, open spaces and top-notch dog off-lead facilities, Hobsons Bay is a very popular destination for dogs and their humans,” said Cr Marsden.
“We are calling on dog owners to use our public spaces responsibly for the safety and enjoyment of the entire community.
“Last year, Council investigated 92 dog attacks, compared to 64 in the previous financial year with a number of attacks occurring when owners were distracted or did not have effective control of their animals.
“Pet owners are entirely responsible for the actions of their dogs and they have an obligation to maintain effective control of their dogs at all times in public places.
“According to our local laws, when out in public, dogs must be kept on a lead connecting to a human unless in a designated dog-off lead area.
“Owners also have a legal obligation to clean up after their pets – Council supplies over 20,000 dog waste bags per month so there is really no excuse for leaving a mess.
“Breaking these laws could result in an on the spot fine of up to $200 or a maximum fine of $1,000 if the matter goes to court.”
Cr Marsden said that dog owners also needed to be mindful of the safety of others in designated dog off-lead areas by maintaining effective verbal control and actively supervising their pets.
“These areas are often located near other spaces which are shared by young families, sporting clubs and other members of the community and owners must ensure that their dogs stay within the designated off-lead area.
“We have seen a number of incidences involving dog walkers in charge of multiple animals or owners who were checking their phones rather than actively watching their pets.
“All dogs, regardless of their breed, must be properly socialised to ensure the safety of our community and if your dog is not trained or socialised, then it is advised to keep them on a lead at all times, even in an off lead area.
“Following these guidelines will result in greater enjoyment of our open spaces for all.”
Tips for dogs and their owners when out and about in Hobsons Bay:
- Never take more dogs than you can effectively control in a dog off-lead area at any one time – two dogs per person is a general guideline
- If there is a large number of dogs using an off-lead area, consider waiting a while before taking your dog off the lead
- Stick to the path and be mindful of local wildlife when walking in a conservation area
- Avoid a fine by bringing extra dog waste bags
- Be especially vigilant around playgrounds and other areas frequented by children
- Dogs are restricted from Williamstown Beach (between the Lifesaving Club and Sebastien’s restaurant) and Altona Beach (between Romawi and Mount Streets) from 10am to 9.30pm from 1 November to 30 April
- Make sure your dog is microchipped and registered
- Contact Council’s Animal Services Team on 9932 1000 if you have concerns about an animal