MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire Council was inundated by calls from concerned dog owners after a sign mix-up at Mount Martha resulted in dogs being banned from beaches day and night.
Council’s manager community safety and compliance, Shannon Maynard, said before 2019, Mount Martha south beach had “dog prohibited” signs throughout the daylight savings period. In 2019, it was identified that this area had never been gazetted as a dog prohibited area, so “dog on leash” stickers were placed over the original signs.
A standard audit by council contractors revealed that signs were missing at two smaller entrances to the beach. In early December they installed what they believed were the correct signs – the original “dog prohibited” signs, which banned dogs at all times.
Alerted to the mistake by disgruntled dog owners, the contractors returned a few days later to remove the incorrect signs.
“These events coincided with a period of community consultation on our draft dogs in public places policy, which closed on 9 December. We received more than 700 feedback contributions,” Maynard said.
“We are currently reviewing this community feedback, which will help us finalise the draft policy before presenting it to council for consideration in early 2023.
“We recognise the value of pet ownership and its overall benefit for community health and wellbeing. The benefit of shared spaces for non-pet owners is important as well.
“The updated dogs policy will help us balance the needs of the community overall. We hope that the policy will have a consistent approach to how we assess suitability of areas where dogs can be leash free (with their owners and under effective control) and where they can’t go (dog prohibited areas).”
The draft policy for dogs in public Places is at shape.mornpen.vic.gov.au/dogs-policy