Fair play for dogs and athletes in animal management

City of Port Phillip
While we want our four-legged friends to keep enjoying Port Phillip’s beautiful open spaces, we also need to achieve the safest possible access for all open space users.

In important news for dog and cat owners, we have updated our Domestic Animal Management Plan (DAMP).

This follows strong feedback about responsible pet ownership being received during two DAMP community consultation rounds and continuing complaints to Council about off-leash dogs disrupting organised sports games or training at reserves.

While we want our four-legged friends to keep enjoying Port Phillip’s beautiful open spaces, we also need to achieve the safest possible access for all open space users.

This means dogs within 20 metres of an organised sporting event or training must now be on a lead and cannot enter the grounds while sporting activity is underway.

While most dog owners do act responsibly, we cannot ignore on-field safety concerns by clubs or, in some instances, an excited four-legged ‘player’ stopping play by making off with the ball.

To find out sporting club schedules, go to: https://www.portphillip.vic.gov.au/explore-the-city/sport-and-fitness/sporting-reserves-and-grounds. There will still be plenty of opportunities for dogs to enjoy open spaces.

There are also QR codes on signage at each sporting venue which can be scanned to access training schedules.

The same rules apply to organised school sporting events which may occasionally be held but are not part of the overall sporting schedules.

In other changes:

  • There is a cat curfew from 9 pm to 6 am to help protect native animals and reduce the number of roaming felines being taken to the pound. It’s also aimed at reducing ‘catfights’, unplanned kitten litters and felines hit by cars. Domestic cats must not leave their owners’ properties during the curfew. Penalties apply from 1 July 2022.
  • De-sexing of newly registered cats is mandatory (there are exceptions such as registered breeders). Penalties apply from 1 July 2022.
  • The definition of a dog being under effective control has been clarified. Dogs must now be leashed in all on-leash areas to be considered under effective control.

Our Council officers are educating community members about the changes for several weeks before enforcing the new restrictions.

Alternatives for “walkies” when sporting activity is in play

In the colder months, our beautiful foreshore is a great option for dog walking at all hours as there are no access restrictions.

Gasworks Arts Park is just a short walk away from Lagoon Reserve in Port Melbourne and is leash-free.

Work will soon begin on building a fenced off-leash dog park at M.O. Moran Reserve, Elwood. The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning provided a design grant for this new addition to our City’s open spaces.

Did you know?

There are 8,412 registered dogs in Port Phillip and 3,925 registered cats.

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