By Dewi Sherry
Almost 150 dog attacks were reported across Wyndham in the past financial year, according to new figures.
But the number of reported attacks has fallen by more than 20 per cent in the past five years, despite a substantial increase in Wyndham’s human and dog population.
Since 2012-13, 680 dog attacks have been reported to Wyndham council. There were 148 reported cases in the past financial year.
Wyndham council’s new five-year Domestic Animal Management Plan was formally adopted at last week’s council meeting.
Wyndham city operations director Stephen Thorpe said that during the consultation period, the council received feedback from 891 residents – the most ever received for the Domestic Animal Management Plan.
“The Domestic Animal Management Plan sets our agenda over the next four years, focusing on pet registrations, stressing the importance of responsible pet ownership, minimising the risk of dog attacks by increased reporting and reducing the potential for dogs and cats to create a nuisance in our community,” he said.
Under the plan, the council hopes to encourage registration numbers to increase by 400 new dog registrations and 250 new cat registrations.
The council will conduct random audits in a bid to identify the number of unregistered animals across the municipality.
According to the council, barking dog complaints have decreased in recent years, with 93 reports in 2015, compared to 70 in 2016.
To reduce dog nuisance complaints, the council plans to give out information regarding confinement, barking and dogs at large.
Random after-hours patrols will be conducted to catch dogs being walked off-lead in residential areas, while patrols are planned for off-lead areas during peak times.
Under the management plan, the council will continue to enforce its cat curfew, under which cats are confined to their properties between 10pm and 6am.
The council plans to provide educational material to owners on how to create cat enclosures.
Cat trapping will be increased during curfew hours. The council will provide residents with free cat traps to deal with cat trespass or nuisance problems.
According to the management plan, a yearly average of 980 dogs are impounded, with 85 per cent reunited with their owners.
Of the average 1585 cats impounded yearly, just eight per cent are reunited with their owners.
The management plan states there were 19,366 dogs registered in Wyndham in 2015-16 and 6050 cats.