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City to introduce new 24-hour cat containment and on-leash restrictions in 2024

Media release

At Monday’s Council meeting the Greater Bendigo City Council voted to introduce 24-hour cat containment and to change Greater Bendigo from an off-leash default to an on-leash default municipality in 2024.  The Council also voted to introduce 21 off leash areas throughout the municipality.

The new dog on leash requirements will commence on January 1, 2024 while the 24 hour cat containment requirements will commence from July 1, 2024.

Greater Bendigo Mayor Cr Andrea Metcalf said the City will install signage at all off leash areas and undertake a comprehensive community education campaign prior to the requirements coming into effect in 2024.

“The decision follows an eight-week community consultation process which received a total of 194 submissions with 75 per cent of cat containment submissions in support and 25 per cent opposed.  Similarly, 83 per cent of dogs on leash submitters were supportive of the dogs on lead proposal with 17 per cent opposed,” Cr Metcalf said.

“As a result of the feedback received several changes were made to the proposed orders.  These included a provision for working dogs to be off leash when actively engaged in farming and stock moving activities, changes to the lead length requirements for practical, training and enforcement reasons, restrictions placed on several designated off leash areas to ensure the designation does not impact on competing uses, adjustment to the wording of the prohibited areas for clarity and uniformity, removal of several proposed designated off leash areas; and inclusion of several new designated off leash areas.

“The Domestic Animals Act 1994 (DAA) allows Victorian Councils, by resolution, to make orders under sections 25 and 26 of the Act.

“The Council’s decision means that all cats must be securely confined to their owners property 24 hours a day and dogs can only be off leash in designated off leash public areas within the municipality.

“Section 25 of the DAA refers to cats found at large.  This section allows Victorian Councils to make an order that specifies where cats are permitted during what hours, as prescribed by the order.  It also provides the penalty if cats are found at large. 

“Currently in Greater Bendigo, there is an order in place that requires cats to be secured to the owner’s property from sunset to sunrise.  The new order, when it comes into effect next year will require cats to be securely confined to the owner’s property at all times.

“Section 26 of the DAA allows Victorian Councils to prohibit dogs from certain public places within the municipality and a requirement for dogs to be on leash at all times, unless in a designated off-leash area as named by the City.

“Greater Bendigo is currently a default off-leash municipality, but from January 1, 2024 it will become a default on-leash municipality with new designated areas where dogs can be exercised off-leash.”

New designated off leash areas are:

  • Allingham Street Dog Park, Cnr Allingham and Chapel Streets, Kangaroo Flat
  • Harcourt Dog Park, 33 Gittins Drive, Strathdale
  • Heathcote Dog Park, Herriot St, Heathcote
  • Truscott Reserve Dog Park, 35 Murdock St, California Gully
  • Finn St Reserve, 64 Finn St, White Hills*
  • Crusoe Heights, 70 Morrison St, Kangaroo Flat**
  • Garden Gully Creek Reserve 2 Bradshaw St, Ironbark, 3550**
  • Rodda Field, 174 Reservoir Rd, Strathdale**
  • Spring Gully Oval, 133-135 Spring Gully Rd, Spring Gully**
  • Junior Oval Strauch Reserve, 14 Gungurru Rd, Huntly**
  • Section of Long Gully Reserve 21 Cunneen St, Long Gully
  • California Gully Oval 1-3 Louden St, California Gully**
  • Section of Quarry Hill Reserve 4-14 Peel St, Quarry Hill
  • Queen Street Reserve 194 Queen St, Bendigo
  • Reserve 1 Raglan St, Axedale
  • Allingham St Reserve 19-29 Allingham St, Golden Square**
  • Emily Way (between Emily Way and Norelle Crescent) Golden Square
  • Reserve 2D Glenelg Drive, Maiden Gully
  • Strathfieldsaye Junior Oval 20 Warne Court, Strathfieldsaye**
  • Section of Inverness Drive Reserve Inverness Drive, Junortoun
  • AFL Field No. 2 only (Epsom Huntly Recreation Reserve) 353 Midland Highway, Epsom**

*           Except when the space has planned bookings for any organised event, sporting activity, training, or organised dog training)

**            Not designated off leash when the space has planned bookings for any organised event, sporting event, or training

Dogs are prohibited from the following areas unless permission to allow dogs within these areas has been granted by the City:

  • Playing surface of the Queen Elizabeth Oval
  • Playing surface of the Tom Flood Sports Centre (including cycling track)
  • Playing surface of Epsom Huntly Recreation Reserve AFL No. 1 and Pitch No. 5
  • Within the fenced area of the Bendigo Regional Hockey Complex
  • Within the fenced area of the Bendigo Regional Tennis Complex
  • Within the fenced area of the Bendigo Regional Athletics Complex
  • All play spaces or children’s play equipment areas including splash parks
  • Playing surface of any synthetic sports grounds
  • Crusoe Reservoir and No. 7 Park
  • Within the fenced area of any City Aquatic facilities
  • Within school areas where the City has a current joint use agreement
Greater Bendigo