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Domestic animal management plan 2022-2026

We’ve got a new plan for the welfare and safety of animals in our community


Blue and white graphic image of an animal paw print

More than one in three Bayside households has a furry family member with 12,477 registered dogs and 3,355 registered cats (June 2023). 



Blue and white graphic of a notepad and pen

Every Victorian council must have a Domestic Animal Management Plan and review it every four years.



Blue and white graphic of a cat

Bayside's plan outlines Council's policies, practices and programs for domestic animals. 

Blue and white graphic of a standing dog with a lead

The plan covers responsible pet ownership, registration, lost animals, off-leash areas, complaint handling and compliance with relevant laws.  

Annual and ongoing activities for managing pets in the community

  • regular pop-up stands at Council and community events to educate pet owners, encourage pet registration and receive regular feedback on issues relating to pets
  • targeted and increased officer patrols to educate owners, encourage responsible pet management and enforce local laws where necessary
  • establish community working groups and strengthen partnerships to provide input/feedback on emerging domestic animal issues
  • promote confinement of dogs and cats to owner’s premises to prevent stray cats and dogs from wandering.

Key actions of the plan

  • Trial the use of outdoor lights at selected sports grounds over winter to expand access to open space for dog off-leash purposes
  • Trial developing etiquette standards at a sports ground involving sports clubs and local dog off-leash users
  • Improve education material for cat owners to improve understanding and compliance of the existing cat curfew.
  • Establish a found pets program via Council’s social media channels
  • Review dog restriction signage to include QR codes, open space etiquette, impacts of uncollected dog poo and why effective control is important
  • Publish key service statistics quarterly on Council’s website
  • Review registration fees and the current desexing rebate program to help increase early puppy and kitten registration
  • Review and amend the barking dog process and consider incorporating technology to aid reporting.
  • Review the location information provided for poo bag dispensers in parks, and provide a digital map of dispenser locations for users
  • Research dog poo bag dispenser activity to ensure a suitable refilling schedule and use signage to encourage users only to take what they need.
  • Review process for declaration of dangerous and menacing dogs to align with changing legal requirements and community expectations
  • Review dog off-leash restrictions adjacent to Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary and all beaches
  • Transition to cat containment (day and night) in 2025/26.


Lady reading book with dog on the couch

Highlights of the plan

To enhance the safety of cats and native wildlife and reduce cat nuisance from roaming, we will strengthen cat restrictions over four years.

As of 1 January 2023, a night curfew will require the confinement of cats between 6pm and 6am or between 9pm and 6am during daylight savings. These increased restrictions for cats are consistent with the current requirements for dogs.

Further restrictions will be implemented in year 4 (2025–26), requiring all cat owners always to keep their cat/s within their property boundaries. There is no requirement for outdoor enclosures or escape-proof fencing.

Council will consider a process for determining the future provisions of secure dog parks throughout Bayside in August 2022.

Additionally, we will review dog off-leash restrictions adjacent to Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary and all beaches as a year 4 action. 

Bayside's current dog walking locations can be viewed on our interactive map

We will work with the community to increase awareness of responsible pet ownership. Supporting owners to have their pets under effective control:

What is effective control?

  • Keep sight of your dog at all times
  • Monitor behaviour for unwelcome approaches
  • Instant recall with voice or hand commands
  • Back on leash if you need to.

Effective control keeps everyone safe

Pet etiquette

  • Dogs must be on a leash within 20 metres of a playground, sporting event including sports practise, a permanent barbeque or picnic area, or an area where a public meeting is being held and signed.
  • Be respectful when sharing open spaces. To learn more about spaces where you can walk your pooch visit our sports grounds page.  
  • Please ensure your dog doesn’t damage sports ground turf by digging.
  • Please remember not everyone likes animals. 

Five things you might not know about dog poo

  1. Bayside dogs produce more than 1,500 tonnes of poo a year
  2. When poo washes into the Bay it harms our marine environment
  3. Pathogens and bacteria in dog poo are harmful to human health
  4. Dog poo is extremely difficult to clean from a wheelchair
  5. Council provides 1.9 million poo bags each year in public dispensers.

Developing the plan 

We conducted an extensive two phase community engagement and research program to develop Bayside’s Domestic Animal Management Plan 2022-26:

  • the first phase, October – November 2021, collected detailed feedback from more than 2,150 community members. We used this feedback to draft DAMP 2022-26.
  • we sought feedback on the draft DAMP’s key actions through community engagement from March – April 2022.

If you have any questions, please contact the team at