Council commits to Bellarine pooch park

Belmont dog park.

The City of Greater Geelong has committed to building a new dog park on the Bellarine Peninsula.

The announcement comes after standards to encourage responsible pet ownership were endorsed by council, including an action to establish two new dog parks.

Mayor Stephanie Asher said the endorsement of the Domestic Animal Management Plan 2022-2025 supports residents to be responsible pet owners and outlines actions the City will take to support the safe management of animals in public spaces.

“The council recognises the importance of pets and we’re taking proactive steps to encourage healthy and positive pet ownership,” Mayor Asher said.

“I’m proud that we’ve committed to building two new dog parks in Lara and on the Bellarine as well as the new dog parks we’ve already delivered at Belmont and Corio.

“We’ve seen a huge increase in the number of people wanting pets during the pandemic and they have provided an important source of companionship.”

The Greater Geelong region has one of the largest animal populations of any Victorian municipality, with almost 38,000 dogs and cats registered in 2021.

The plan includes the following actions:

construct another two dog parks for supervised off-leash socialisation

increase proactive patrols across trails, reserves, parks and beaches

investigate and advocate for the purchase of sustainable dog poo bags

explore the possibility of an extra cat desexing month each year

develop additional programs to encourage responsible cat ownership and

explore the feasibility of reduced or free pet registration for the first year of ownership.

The draft plan was open for community feedback for 28 days during August and September, and 38 submissions were received.

Councillor Kylie Grzybek said the plan has an educational focus, to encourage registration, minimise the risks from uncontrolled dogs and cats, and empower community members to take responsibility for their pets’ wellbeing.

“Pet ownership has well known benefits for mental health and wellbeing so we want to support dog and cat owners to do the right thing, which will benefit everyone,” Cr Grzybek said.

“I’m looking forward to the many actions in this plan coming to fruition, including the construction of another two dog parks, as the existing off-leash parks have received amazing community support.”

The plan strikes the right balance between encouraging healthy pet ownership and protecting our unique native habitat.

A proposal to explore a potential 24-hour cat curfew as a tool to address nuisance behaviour is included in the plan, but it would only be implemented in line with best practice in animal management and following robust stakeholder and community engagement.