Project update - October 2023

At our most recent Council Meeting on Tuesday 10 October 2023, Council endorsed some changes to the Council Order.

The changes form part of the Domestic Animal Management Plan (DAMP) actions adopted in 2021 and reflect our dedication to responsible pet ownership and the safeguarding of local wildlife.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the consultation process, which played an important role in shaping the future of pet management in Yarra for the benefit of the entire community and the local ecosystem.

The results from our recent Your Say Yarra consultation indicated 75% of survey responses supported the introduction of a night-time cat curfew. The introduction of a night-time cat curfew is a significant highlight of the endorsed changes.

Effective from Monday 1 January 2024, cat owners within Yarra will be required to keep their pet cats within their property between 7pm and 7am.

This measure also aligns Yarra with several inner-city councils that have either introduced or are contemplating similar cat curfew measures.

Further endorsed changes to the Council Order include:

  • Strengthening the control of dogs and cats in public spaces to mitigate environmental harm and nuisance.
  • Updating Clause 5 of the Council Order to clearly outline pet owner responsibilities in designated off-leash areas, ensuring no damage to sporting fields and requiring dogs to be leashed during maintenance operations by the Council or contractors.
  • The inclusion of O'Connell Reserve in Schedule 1 of the Council Order as a designated off-leash area, and the reclassification of Cairns Reserve to a leash-required park from a previously prohibited park for dogs.

Learn more about this consultation.

We're reviewing our Council Order, which outlines the requirements for people owning domestic cats and dogs within Yarra. This review is included in our Domestic Animal Management Plan (DAMP) that Council adopted in 2021

A night-time cat curfew is being proposed as part of the review. This measure would require cats to stay within their owner’s premises between 7pm and 7am. The curfew is designed to keep our cats safe from injury and disease, lessen the chance of cats going missing, protect native wildlife, reduce cat-related disturbances at night, and reduce exposure to extreme weather. Many inner city councils already have a cat curfew, or are considering introducing one.

Other changes made as part of the review include:

  • Ensuring that dogs and cats in public spaces are controlled properly minimising the risk of them harming the environment or causing a nuisance.
  • Adding new rules to Clause 5 of the Council Order, which outline the responsibilities of pet owners in designated off-lead areas. These include making sure that dogs don't dig or damage areas like sporting fields and keeping dogs on a leash when maintenance work is being done by the Council or contractors.
  • Adding O'Connell Reserve, to Schedule 1 of the Council Order, which lists designated off-lead areas; and updating Cairns Reserve from a prohibited park (no dogs allowed) to a park where dogs are allowed but must be kept on a leash.

The purpose of these changes is to improve the management and control of pets in public spaces, ensuring the safety, enjoyment and harmony of both the community and the environment.

As part of the review, we asked for community feedback on the proposed introduction of a night-time (7pm to 7am) cat curfew, cat management in Yarra and the broader Council Order.

Benefits for cats when they are kept indoors

  • Reduces risk of disease

    Research shows that cats are more likely to catch a disease off other roaming cats if they are allowed out at night.

  • Less chance of injury

    Research shows that cats are more likely to get into fights, catch feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) or get hit by a car if they are allowed to roam at night.

  • Less chance of going missing

    Cats may get lost in unfamiliar territory or may get accidentally locked in garages or sheds.

  • Reduces exposure to weather extremes

    Cats can sometimes roam far from their home and this puts them at risk of being exposed to weather extremes such as thunderstorms, frost and heat.

Other benefits when cats are kept indoors

Keeping cats indoors help to protect Australia's fragile ecosystem. Cats are predators by nature and kill millions of native Australian animals, including birds and marsupials, each year. You can report any injured wildlife you see to Wildlife Victoria using their contact form or call their emergency response service number 8400 7300.