Domestic pet ban for new areas

THE fur flew at Thursday's Byron Shire Council when it debated banning pets from some new residential developments.

Adding a clause to Byron's draft development control plan (DCP) prohibiting cats and dogs from projects near Environmental Zones was ‘a bit of nonsense', said Ross Tucker.

“What kind of a monster are we creating?” he demanded.

“This sort of mechanism through the DCP is totally ineffectual,” Cr Tucker said.

“It will only create confusion and anger.”

The rule was not workable and did not recognise that some people needed to keep farm dogs, he said.

“It's a nonsense and won't achieve what is sought – to keep feral animals such as foxes out of the shire,” Cr Tucker said

But Richard Staples said the proposal did not go far enough.

“When it comes to Environmental Zones, I don't want to see humans adjacent to them, let alone pets,” he said.

Mayor Jan Barham said the council should only impose such a condition when it was meaningful, and here it was not possible to ensure compliance.

Cr Barham recommended that another clause be inserted, to do with educating pet owners about control of their animals.

Simon Richardson agreed, although he was pessimistic about ‘selfish' people being able to change their behaviour.

“You either care about the environment or you don't.”

“However, providing educational material that addresses the threat to ecology from irresponsible domestic pet management sends the message that this is what we believe in,” Cr Richardson said.

Cr Tucker took a more pragmatic view. If wild dogs come on a property and savage livestock, ‘you go to the Livestock Health and Pest Authority and they will give you baits', he said.

And if domestic dogs ran wild and attacked stock, ‘you shoot them!' he said.

The motion, which will not affect current residential estates or people with special needs of a support animal, was passed.

Byron Shire already has bans of domestic animals at wildlife zones in residential areas at Hardy Ave. and Fern Beach estate in the north, and at Lilli Pilli estate, close to the town centre.

Ballina's environmental health manager Graham Plumb said Ballina Shire had some rural subdivisions with private covenants on them relating to cats and dogs – ‘but these are not enforceable by council'.

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