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Late-night barking dogs at popular park prompt council to take action

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Brendan Rees

The City of Port Phillip will recruit a dedicated animal management officer to help address late night excessive dog barking at Eastern Rd Reserve in South Melbourne.

The popular park is off leash to dogs between 7am and 7.30pm but following reports from residents about noise disturbances caused by dog barking outside these hours, the council is hoping to rectify the issue.

The council’s safety and amenity acting manager Marc Jay said in July that animal management officers had increased their patrols of the reserve for 10 consecutive days, between the June 2 to 12 between the hours of 6am and 7am.

“However, we are unable to patrol outside the off-leash hours ongoing due to officers’ availability,” he said.

“Council is currently recruiting an additional animal management officer; this position is anticipated to be filled by the end of August,” he told councillors at their July 5 meeting after Cr Marcus Pearl raised questions about how the council was finding a solution.

 

This will help council’s ability to carry out further patrols of this reserve outside of the off-leash hours.

 

Mr Jay said the council would also install additional large signs requesting dog owners to be respectful of residents and noise.

“While these signs are on order, temporary signs were installed earlier today. Importantly, there are no restrictions that relate to barking dog noise from public land within the Domestic Animals Act 1994, the Environmental Protection Act 2017, and Council’s Local Law.”

Cr Pearl also asked whether the council could extinguish the lighting in the middle of the park to track between the hours of 11pm and 6am.

In response, the council said the two light poles were operated and maintained by CitiPower and could not be programmed for either dimming or timing.

 

Caption: Eastern Rd Reserve will see more council patrols following reports of dogs parking after hours.

 

In terms of any proposed changes to the hours dog owners can use the reserve, the council said it was currently developing the dog off-leash guidelines – a “short-term priority action” in the Places for People: Public Space Strategy 2022-2023.

“This will outline council’s position on the provision, distribution, design, and management of dog facilities in public open spaces. We are currently not implementing any changes until these guidelines are approved,” Mr Jay said.

In March, the council completed a $140,000 upgrade of the reserve with the reinstatement of one grass area, two grass areas being replaced with granitic sand, an upgraded irrigation system, extension of mulch, relaying of existing bluestone edging, asphalt paths, and new park benches.

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