Domestic Animal Management Plan highlights need for responsible dog ownership

The Ballarat Animal Shelter is playing an increasingly important role in the management of dog behaviour and responsible pet ownership.  

The City of Ballarat’s draft Domestic Animal Management Plan (DAMP) 2021-2025 was recently open for public comment via mySay from August to September, with the document highlighting key areas of importance for the future management of the Ballarat Animal Shelter.

 Ballarat Mayor, Cr Daniel Moloney said that whilst there were several key areas being targeted within the plan, of particular focus was the need to further promote responsible dog ownership through public education programs to ensure local recreational spaces could be enjoyed safely by dog owners and non-dog owners alike.

“As the city grows so do our pet numbers, with last year seeing nearly 14,000 registered dogs and nearly 8,000 cats,” he said.

“With Ballarat’s population of 113,000 people that is roughly around 1 in 6 households having a registered dog or cat.

“With this comes a significant increase in key animal welfare services that places a strain on both our existing facility and our staff.

“As dog numbers in particular grow there is always going to be a greater risk of negative behaviours, so we want to get on the front foot, increase education, upskill and utilise our staff’s professional animal behaviour management expertise and improve our facilities to meet both our animal shelter needs and those of the community.” 

The Ballarat Animal Shelter already trains staff in specialist areas such as aggressive dog handling techniques, animal behaviour and assessment.

“Many of the dogs that we see given up, abandoned or not wanted, come in with behavioural issues. With a bit of love and training after a period many are able to be rehomed to new owners and happier, healthy lives,” Cr Daniel Moloney said.

“In order for everyone to enjoy the company of dogs we need to invest in the time to train them; so they are socialised, they can recall, and are not aggressive towards other dogs or people. It really comes down to the owner with how a dog behaves.”

The City of Ballarat is also currently advocating to Victorian and Australian Governments for funding to help deliver a purpose-built Regional Animal Shelter, which would serve the needs of Ballarat and the municipalities of Hepburn, Moorabool, Golden Plains, Pyrenees, Ararat and Central Goldfields.

Funding to construct a new regional animal facility, will represent the single biggest improvement to animal welfare services in this region in a century. 

A new, fully compliant regional animal facility will enhance the quality of life and standard of care delivered to the hundreds of strays, lost, abandoned, or abused animals from around the region that pass through the City of Ballarat’s animal shelter each year.

Responses to the Draft Domestic Animal Management Plan (DAMP) have now closed, and submissions will be considered before a final report is tabled for adoption by Ballarat City Council.

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