Residents have successfully fought the introduction of the first “no dogs” site in Macedon Ranges, despite pressure on the council to protect Mount Gisborne Nature Reserve’s native animals.
The 2017-21 Domestic Animal Management Plan, adopted by Macedon Ranges council last week, will not introduce a trial ban on dogs at Mount Gisborne Nature Reserve as originally proposed.
Instead, the council will next year trial an on-lead policy for dogs in the reserve.
The proposed ban had been open for community feedback for two months and was equally split between those in favour and those against, prompting the council to compromise on an on-lead trial.
The no dogs ban was in response to a petition by the Friends of Mount Gisborne Nature Reserve which was put to the council in May.
The petition, signed by 58 people, argued that “the presence of dogs even on leads poses a threat to the wellbeing” of the reserve’s native animals.
It identified Mount Gisborne Reserve as “the only nature conservation zone in the area,” home to “eastern grey kangaroos, black wallabies, koalas, sugar gliders, brush-tailed phascogales, echidnas, blue tongue lizards and copperhead snakes”.
As part of The 2017-21 Domestic Animal Management Plan the council will introduce a cat monitoring program next year to gather evidence of what impact cats have on wildlife in bushland reserves.
The results will be used to inform the council as it investigates the feasibility of introducing a cat curfew in 2020.