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Ramping up animal control

Wednesday, 24th February, 2021

Councillor Tom Kennedy would like to see the issue of roaming animals in the city addressed. Councillor Tom Kennedy would like to see the issue of roaming animals in the city addressed.

By Emily McInerney

The problem of roaming cats and dogs needs to be address by Council, according to a local Councillor but it would come at a considerable cost.

Councillor Tom Kennedy has put forward a Notice of Motion asking Council to prepare a report about roaming dogs detailing attacks, unregistered animals, operating hours and complaints.

Clr Kennedy would like to see what Council’s obligations are under the Companion Animals Act to address stray cats and dogs as well as see them develop a policy to ensure that all off leash dog areas are well maintained and include adequate facilities to ensure a safe and pleasant experience for users.

“Broken Hill City Council provide Councillors with the opportunity to develop a policy that ensure Council operates 24 hours when dealing with roaming dogs,” Clr Kennedy’s motion stated.

“There have been a number of dog attacks recently in the city and in most cases the Council had been contacted prior to the attacks. 

“In most cases, when contact was made outside business hours nothing was done. 

“Off leash dog areas must be well maintained to encourage use.”

Clr Kennedy said stray cats are also becoming an increasing concern for people.

“It is important that Council be available at all times to ensure the safety of pets and residents,” he said.

“Council must immediately pick up roaming dogs and return them to their owners if registered or impound them until their owners can be contacted. 

“This will ensure the safety of roaming animals and other animals.”

Acting General Manager Jay Nankivell said Council provides a hotline for emergency and after hours Animal Control. 

This sees rangers summoned to after-hours incidents if their presence is required. 

“In addition, Council has already established a position on the management of companion animals in line with the Companion Animals Act by adopting the Companion Animal Management Plan in February 2020. 

“The most effective form of animal control is responsible pet ownership, and Council has been pushing this message within the community for many years. Management are also in the process of finalising Asset Inspection and Maintenance Manuals, as pre-cursor to fully fledged Asset Management Plans for all of Council’s Asset Classes, including Parks and Open Spaces.”

Mr Nankivell said there a quite a few financial implications to having rangers on duty 24/7.

“To have rangers on duty 24/7 requires five fulltime staff. 

“This calculation is based on three, 8 hour shifts per day and only covers annual leave. 

“Sick leave and other leave would have to be covered by overtime, cancelling service or casuals if available. 

“The cost of five rangers including shift and weekend penalties is $499,733 a 150 per cent increase compared to current costs. 

“This doesn’t take into account the additional duties that the Rangers are responsible for, such as parking enforcement and other compliance matters. 

“Council’s existing ranger services already costs Council in excess of $200,000 per year.”

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