We love our animals in Yarra Ranges.

The mix of urban and rural areas across Yarra Ranges means we have pets and animals of all shapes and sizes. While pets are an important part of our families and community, we also have an abundance of native animals and sensitive environments in our parks, bushland and waterways.

So, how can we support safe and clean shared spaces for everyone, including people without animals, encourage responsible pet ownership and look after the wellbeing and management of cats and dogs? This is where the Domestic Animal Management Plan (DAMP) comes in. It gives council a way to identify and deal with matters in relation to the management and wellbeing of cats and dogs in Yarra Ranges.

Earlier this year we undertook a community survey to identify the hot topics and areas of concern in relation to dogs and cats. The results confirmed we are on the right track! The Draft DAMP has a strong focus on community education about responsible pet ownership and outlines others actions related to specific issues, such as managing domestic animals in an emergency.

What's in the plan?

The Objectives and Actions in the Draft DAMP

1.1 Staff will be supported to pursue professional development, networking, and knowledge sharing opportunities within the animal management sector

1.1.1 Council staff are supported to complete compliance modules and maintain professional standards.

1.1.2 Attendance at industry workshops, seminars or conferences relating to animal management is promoted and encouraged

1.2 Ensuring that our Community Safety Team have appropriate expertise, knowledge, and skills to carry out their work

1.2.1 Undertake a review and improvement program of our animal management processes

1.2.2 Ensure all Community Safety Team members are familiar with relevant processes, policies, and standards

1.2.3 Promote the skills of our Community Safety Team to ensure a safe and effective service for both community and all animals they interact with

1.2.4 Introduce bi-annual child safety training including enforcement of responsibilities (such as disclosure) under the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005

2.1 Encourage registration (and registration renewal) of dogs and cats in Yarra Ranges

2.1.1 Introduce discounted registration fees for eligible residents of newly purchased or adopted animals from a Council approved pound or shelter

2.1.2 Introduce discounted registration fees for eligible new animal purchases from a Yarra Ranges registered Domestic Animal Business Breeder

2.1.3 Introduce discounted registration fees to any eligible puppy completing a dog training course with a Yarra Ranges registered Domestic Animal Business Trainer

2.1.4 Proactively investigate and action unregistered pets and/or unpaid registrations within Yarra Ranges

2.2 Ensure Councils pet registration program delivers benefit to our community

2.2.1 Build and enhance positive relationships with our local registered Domestic Animal Businesses and Veterinary Clinics

2.2.2 Apply warnings to owners of registered animals found wandering in the first instance rather than infringements

2.2.3 Provide community updates about the management of pet registration including how fees are used to support delivery of animal management services

3.1 Engage with our community regarding responsible pet ownership

3.1.1 Deliver community information through face-to-face and online sessions or channels

3.1.2 Have members of the Community Safety Team attending both on-leash and off-leash dog areas and engaging with dog owners

3.1.3 Develop a program identifying and addressing location specific issues (such as nuisance animals) based on community feedback

3.2 Educate and inform the community concerning the management of dogs

3.2.1 Investigate benefits of litter bag and rubbish bin locations in high traffic areas

3.2.2 Work with community to minimise the impacts of animal excrement

3.2.3 Enhance processes to reduce response timeframes and simplify reporting of barking dogs

3.2.4 Ensure advocacy and funding opportunities regarding dog desexing to help subsidise registration costs for owners participating such schemes

3.3 Educate and inform the community relating to the management of cats

3.3.1 Engage cat owners to provide guidance on Councils 24/7 cat curfew as well as the impact of feral and semi owned cats on the community, wildlife, and environment

3.3.2 Increase community awareness by providing information outlining feral cat issues and effective containment options

3.3.3 Review and improve processes concerning enforcement of cat trespassing orders and local laws

3.3.4 Implement process efficiencies and improve capacity of the current cat trap service to assist in reducing stray cat populations

3.3.5 Ensure advocacy and funding opportunities regarding cat desexing to help subsidise registration costs for owners participating such schemes

3.3.6 Ensure Council orders published regarding wandering cats and desexing of cats are appropriately published

3.3.7 Explore options that may assist the Community Safety Team to identify and reunite wandering cats with their owners

3.3.8 Advocate to State Government and educate community members on the importance of a consistent approach to enforcement and penalties of wandering animals

3.4 Educate and promote responsible pet ownership by advocating for State Government programs in Primary Schools and Kindergartens

3.4.1 Actively promote programs including those such as ‘Responsible Pet Ownership Program’ and ‘Dog Bite Prevention Program’ delivered through Agriculture Victoria

3.4.2 Advocate for the benefits of a state-wide campaign aimed at reducing instances of dog attacks, wandering dogs, and dog rushes

3.5 Educate and promote responsible pet ownership in areas where dogs are required to be on leash or are prohibited

3.5.1 Community Safety Team members will ensure a presence of Authorised Officers at off leash areas and areas where dogs are not permitted

3.5.2 Promote off leash areas and any restrictions or changes associated with these open spaces through accessible publication channels

3.6 Raise community awareness for responsible pet ownership and animal welfare concerns

3.6.1 Campaign for increased community awareness concerning the safe transport of domestic animals within cars and utility vehicles

3.6.2 Ensure Council employees and the community are aware of, and action, reporting of animal welfare concerns to appropriate authorities

4.1 Promote and raise community awareness regarding the risk and seriousness of dog attacks

4.1.1 Encourage more registered dog training businesses through reducing the cost of application fees and encouraging trainers to focus on behaviours that prevent dogs attacking

4.1.2 Undertake annual review of Councils dog attack investigation process ensuring timely and effective responses while referring matters to court as required

4.1.3 Refine and improve Councils enforcement guidelines, policies, and processes to assist Council in successful court action in events of serious dog attacks

4.1.4 Deliver key community messages regarding dog attacks, including the role of Council, potential outcomes, and support services available to victims of these events

4.2 Ensure that all declared dangerous and/or menacing dogs within Yarra Ranges are effectively registered and managed

4.2.1 Communicate any relevant updates or changes in legislation to owners of declared dangerous and/or menacing dogs and ensure continued compliance with these requirements

4.2.2 Review processes regarding the declaration of a dangerous and/or menacing dog to support responsible pet ownership and community safety

4.2.3 Maintain annual inspection of premises with a registered declared dangerous and/or menacing dog

4.2.4 Ensure Council effectively maintains its own register of declared dangerous and/or menacing dogs and that it matches the Victorian Declared Dog Registry

4.2.5 In the event of a dog being reported missing or impounded, Community Safety Team members will ensure relevant registers are checked to provide theirs and others safety

4.3 Engage and work with others to protect our built and natural environment and wildlife

4.3.1 Identify opportunities to proactively engage with our Indigenous community regarding domestic animals and related services particularly impacts to the environment

4.3.2 Provide input to Council and State Government plans, services, and activities that may impact domestic animal services

5.1 Ensure all registered Domestic Animal Businesses comply with relevant Acts, Regulations and Codes of Practice.

5.1.1 Commit to inspecting all registered Domestic Animal Businesses within Yarra Ranges at least annually to ensure the health and wellbeing of their animals and all requirements of operating are being met

5.1.2 Where a Domestic Animal Business is not meeting their requirements, Council will work with proprietors to ensure their compliance

5.1.3 Communicate any relevant updates or changes in legislation to Domestic Animal Management Businesses to ensure continued compliance

5.2 Engage with and promote registered Domestic Animal Businesses

5.2.1 Investigate opportunities for Council to promote responsible pet ownership through accessing registered Domestic Animal Businesses

5.2.2 Our Community Safety Team will work with Domestic Animal Businesses to increase community connection

6.1 Work with community, businesses, and organisations to increase the rehoming rate of abandoned or surrendered animals

6.1.1 Partner with Animal Aid to promote and assist in improving rehoming rates of dogs and cats from pound facilities

6.1.2 Investigate online applications and/or other channels aimed at reuniting missing or impounded animals quickly with their rightful owner

6.1.3 Encourage adoption of animals from pound facilities through discounted registration fees for adopted animals through approved pound service providers

6.2 Promote initiatives to enhance community experience while using dog off leash areas

6.2.1 Conduct inspections of all dogs off-leash and prohibited areas to ensure signage is correctly installed, visible, and maintained

6.2.2 Identify opportunities to update Yarra Ranges Neighbourhood Amenity Local Law when dealing with managing dogs within off-leash areas

6.2.3 Progress Councils People and Dogs in Parks Plan to ensure appropriate open space and associated services are made available

6.3 Raise awareness for victims of, and animals exposed to, domestic violence

6.3.1 Identify opportunities to promote and support victims of domestic violence through responsible pet ownership and/or other appropriate domestic animal services

6.3.2 Engage with our community regarding impacts of domestic violence on pets

6.4 Ensure safe management of all domestic animals in an emergency

6.4.1 Work with Councils Emergency Management team to support the development and review of Regional Emergency Animal Welfare Plans

6.4.2 Explore ways Council can provide temporary animal shelter for registered domestic animals in fire, flood, and other emergency situations.

7.1 Collect and use our data with purpose

7.1.1 Collect, analyse, and report on domestic animal registrations to predict changing trends, undertake advocacy activities, and support community needs

7.1.2 Use available data to improve and direct animal management services provided by our Community Safety Team

7.1.3 Access both internally and externally available data to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of our community, domestic animals, natural environment, and wildlife

7.1.4 Advocate and apply for State Government grants using collected and/or accessible data to support our application

7.1.5 Develop a methodology to gather data informing more detailed assessments of gender associated impacts with this and following Domestic Animal Management Plans

7.1.6 Develop a methodology to gather data and investigate research to inform a more detailed assessment of the impacts on gender associated with this plan

7.2 Create opportunities for responsible data sharing and transparency

7.2.1 Investigate opportunities to share data and/or reporting regarding domestic animal services

7.2.2 Make data and/or summaries of collected data, available to the community, state government agencies, organisations, and others where appropriate

How can I give feedback?

Provide feedback on the Draft DAMP

Initial engagement

Earlier in 2022 Council shared a survey with the community. The goal of the survey was to hear about the key issues our residents, both pet owners and those without pets, may have with cats and dogs in Yarra Ranges. We have created an overview of the engagement and how this has influenced the actions in the Draft DAMP.

Contact Us

If you have any questions or want to learn more about this project, our contact details are below:

Name Safer Communities Team
Phone 1300 368 333
Email mail@yarraranges.vic.gov.au
In writing

PO Box 105, Lilydale Vic 3140


  • Timeline item 1 - complete

    Community survey

  • Timeline item 2 - complete

    Compile results

  • Timeline item 3 - complete

    Prepare Draft DAMP

  • Timeline item 4 - active

    Draft DAMP out for consultation

  • Timeline item 5 - incomplete

    Feedback considered, relevant changes made

  • Timeline item 6 - incomplete

    DAMP adopted by Council and registered with the state government