BETTER access to facilities for dog owners and increased opportunities for rehoming lost, stray and surrendered pets are part of a draft domestic animal policy released by Mitchell Shire Council.

The draft policy was approved for public consultation by councillors at this month’s meeting, with a focus on providing more fenced off-leash dog parks across the shire in the next four years.

The draft document also identified strong support for a cat curfew and the registration and identification of pets as key issues.

Cr Louise Bannister said there was plenty to like about the plan.

“I think this plan has some great initiatives, mainly the investment in more off-leash dog parks, cat desexing vouchers for our most disadvantaged community members, as well as responsible pet ownership education programs,” she said.

Cr Bannister expressed concern at $25,000 earmarked for a doorknocking campaign to register pets included under the plan.

“This is for additional temporary staff to check registrations of potentially unregistered pets,” she said.

“I’m concerned about the impact this may have on our already vulnerable community after almost two years of a pandemic.

“In particular I’m concerned this initiative may not be supportive, and for those who have already had a hard time this may cause unnecessary stress.”

Cr Fiona Stevens said the draft plan was ‘quite detailed’ and encouraged the community to review it and submit feedback.

“[Pets are] an area that the community is usually greatly interested in,” she said.

People can view the draft plan and submit feedback by visiting engagingmitchellshire.com/domestic-animal-management-plan-2021.

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