25 October, 2023
Locals fear animal law changes
ELDERLY people living on their own are among the many residents who will be impacted if the Tablelands Regional Council’s proposed animal law changes restricting stock and dog numbers go ahead.
Malanda dog groomer and trainer Terri Wilson believes a large number of residents, businesses and ratepayers including the elderly will also be affected by these changes.
“I have quite a few elderly clients, some who live alone, who live in units and small properties (under 600sqm) that have two small companion dogs,” Terri said.
“For most of these people their pets are their life and all that they have.
An animal lover all her life, Terri said she would like to know what council will do about these small units and allotments that already have two dogs and the households that have paid (and been approved) for permits to have three dogs.
“If our elected council can propose such changes based on a few complaints from a small majority of people, then I am very sure they can dismiss these changes based on the many who oppose them.
“Why should a select few dictate the lives of so many?”
“It’s all going to be terribly difficult going forward – it’s going to affect a lot of people, a lot of businesses, if these changes go ahead.
“It’s going to affect Terri’s business as well as other dog groomers on the Tablelands. It is also going to affect local produce stores, local farmers, pony clubs and show jumping clubs,” Louise said.
“Local farmers and businesses are in an uproar – where does it stop. What’s the next step – to shut everyone down?”
Terri said most of her clients throughout the council area had two (or more) dogs.
“Dogs are social animals and benefit from the company of other dogs,” she said.
“With council proposing to restrict households of dogs I feel it will open up issues and more complaints about barking and nuisance behaviour. This in turn leads to local law officers having to investigate more complaints than usual, which costs the ratepayers more.”
Terri said if the proposed laws went through it would not only affect her business, but also that of other Tableland dog groomers and trainers, and all pet and animal businesses in the region.
“We are a rural community that has a history of farming and animal keeping,” she said.
“The majority of people who live in rural residential and rural areas have some form of stock animal and this is what we pay our rates to live in these areas for.”
Louise said she would also be questioning where the council proposed where the animals go if a permit was not given.
“Are they to be put down?” she asked.
“I will be talking about the fact that you already need a permit to have more than two dogs, so why is it necessary to change the land size? Just don’t give the permit if you think the housing is unsuitable.
“Also regarding dogs allowed on 600sqm being reduced to one – a lonely dog is a barking dog.
“Where are the animals to go? Are they also to be destroyed, as all the animal shelters are full?”
Louise said she would also ask how many people have made complaints to change a law for an entire community and would also be requesting to see those numbers in a report.
TRC has proposed that:
Local Law No. 1 (Administration) 2019 and Subordinate Local Law No. 2 (Animal Management) 2019 are amended to define an urban area, increase the minimum lot size for keeping stock (this does not include poultry or swine, if developmental approval is already in place), require a permit to keep stock on a lot between 4000sqm and 20,000sqm, and prohibit three or more dogs being kept on lots under 4000sqm.
You can still have:
one dog on a premises which is up to 600m2
one or two dogs on a premises which is between 600m2 and 4000m2
three dogs on a premises which is over 4000m2