A huge number of pet owners have failed to register their cat or dog with Ballarat City Council’s local laws office.
Sixty per cent of cats and 30 per cent of dogs went unregistered in 2015-16.
The data was revealed in council’s draft domestic animal management plan for 2017-21
There were an estimated 16,908 dogs in the municipality with just 13,193 registered. Despite more than 10,000 cats being estimated, just 4831 have been registered with council.
All dogs and cats aged three months and older must be registered.
Cr Mark Harris said council’s policy was clear, but there was limited ability for it to hold pet owners accountable.
“The reality is we don’t have the reach of enforcement,” he said.
“It is the same with breeds of dogs, they might be banned or questionable, but in essence can you go round to people’s houses and investigate their cats or dog breeds?”
Ratepayers can comment on councils draft domestic animal management plan until July 31.
Council must submit an animal plan every four years.
It covers the registration of pets, including cats and dogs, and the local laws that regulate the responsibilities of owners.
Dog attacks, restricted and dangerous breeds, domestic animal businesses, barking dogs and cat curfews are part of the plan.
Cr Harris said the city’s animal management had come a long way in the last decade.
“The whole idea of even dog pounds and that sort of thing, the whole movement of getting pets housed is huge nowadays,” he said.
“So the attitudes of owners and residents have changed.”
There will be four community sessions across the municipality as part of council’s consultation period for the plan including;
- Tuesday, July 18 from 4-7pm at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka
- Thursday, July 20 from 4-7pm at the Ballarat Community Hub in Sebastopol
- Tuesday, July 25 from 4-7pm at Cooinda Ballarat Community Health in Wendouree
- Thursday, July 27 from 4-7pm at the Ballarat Town Hall.
Residents can also make a written submission through the mysay.ballarat.vic.gov.au website.
A full copy of the draft plan can also be viewed.
Council voted in April to not renew the RSPCA’s animal shelter contract.
A new shelter with twice the capacity of the current has been proposed for Ballarat.
Cr Harris said Ballarat had a regional responsibility to work with smaller councils to provide a pound.