Council must act on dog droppings in public areas

David Woodhouse, Maffra

IT is appalling that irresponsible persons in charge of dogs in Maffra do not clean up their dogs’ “mess” from public areas.
This can be from dogs under control or roaming dogs. Some dogs also enter fenced and gated private property and leave a mess.
It is not the responsibility of a property owner to clean up a recalcitrant dog’s mess.
Wellington Shire Council’s proposed 2021 community local law restates the current local law that (essentially) those in charge of a dog must not allow its mess to remain on any council land (including a nature strip). It also proposes a new law (essentially) that those in charge of a dog must carry a litter device suitable to clean up their dog’s mess.
However, if our experience is indicative, you won’t read any publicity by the council about these laws.
Suggestions since 2018 to publicise the need to clean up a dog’s mess have fallen on deaf ears: no article in the “Wellington Edit” weekly council update in the Tuesday Gippsland Times; nothing in the material sent with dog registrations; nothing obvious on the council’s website.
No council staff seem to be at the necessary pay grade to initiate such publicity, despite their Domestic Animal Management Plan citing the need. Yet council expects dog owners to comply, and property owners to clean up for irresponsible owners.
Surveillance cameras would provide to the council the evidence it wants of recalcitrant dogs “in action” and its owner’s “inaction” before it will actually enforce its laws.
Given the incidence of dogs’ public mess, the Maffra Responsible Dog Owners Association must have to reject many membership applications from irresponsible dog owners.
I have alerted the council that I am writing to the Times; it has been given ample past opportunity for publicity and tangible action in respect of dogs’ mess.