Maranoa records highest animal registrations in over a decade
After a “very successful” animal inspection program, the Maranoa region has recorded the highest number of animal registrations since amalgamation.
While some councillors were firmly against the program, which allowed council officers to enter residents’ backyard, saying it would be “extremely upsetting” for some dog owners, the results proved to be successful.
Community Safety Officers inspected 163 properties between September 7 - November 27, 2020 and issued just 12 infringement notices, a massive decline compared to 78 issued in 2019.
Samantha Thrupp, Manager of Community Safety said the program was tremendously successful as officers inspected less homes than they needed to and they had an overwhelming response from the community.
“It was a very successful program with great results,” Ms Thrupp said.
“We have the highest numbers of dogs recorded; we inspected less properties than needed to … people responded well to cold calling.
“We have the highest number of animals on record ever registered in the Maranoa.”
At council’s meeting in Yuleba on December 9, 2020, Cr Wendy Taylor asked Ms Thrupp whether the reduction in fees had much to do with how successful the program went.
Ms Thrupp said while the 50 per cent reduction helped to convince people to register their animals, she believed it was the way council communicated with the community about the program.
“I guess it did make it more affordable for people, but the real winners was the way we communicated with people, the SMS reminders, public notices … which saw a spike in renewals,” Ms Thrupp said.
“Just knowing we’re coming out, encouraged people to do the right thing.”
In the July 22, 2020 council meeting, the majority of councillors voted in favour to allow officers to enter and inspect properties, however mayor Tyson Golder stated the feedback he had received from the community is that this was the most unpopular decision council made each year.
“The feedback that I get from residents is that this is completely unfriendly and allows the situation that officers can go into people’s yard without invitation,” he said at the time.
“The feedback from residents is that this completely against how they believe council should operate.
“I hear people have been in tears over this in times when they haven’t registered and I don’t support selected inspection programs.
“The feedback from the general public is that they cannot get their head around that allow council officers allowed to go into private property without notices first when they’re not home.
“This extremely upsetting policy and there’s other ways to make sure we keep the community safe in terms of registration and that this causes financial hardship.”
Crs Mark Edwards and George Ladbrook also opposed the motion.
According to the December 9, 2020 minutes, at the conclusion of the program there was 3009 dogs registered within the Maranoa region.
During the inspection program when an authorised officer identified a dog as not being registered, an advisory notice was issued, providing the owner with 14 day time frame to take action and register their dog.
If registration was not received by this period, a $266 fine was issued.
The minutes state $2926 worth of infringements were issued with $2328 outstanding.