Animal complaints

If you have a problem with a dog or cat living nearby, the first step is to talk to the pet's owner. They may not even be aware of the problem, and this gives them a chance to address it.

If your concern is a barking dog or wandering pets, please contact us.

There is information on the Legal Aid website or the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria in relation to neighbourhood disputes including trees, animals, noise and drainage. The Ballarat office of Justice and Community Safety can be contacted on (03) 4301 7000.

Barking dogs

Barking is a normal behaviour for dogs, and an important means of communication. However, when dogs bark excessively, they become a nuisance to their owners and the neighbourhood.

Dogs bark for a variety of reasons, so once the underlying cause and triggers for the barking are identified, training techniques can be used to limit excessive barking.

What to do
  • First, try talking to the dog owner – they may not know that their dog is barking.
  • If the issue can’t be resolved by speaking directly with the dog owner, contact Council and we can discuss a Barking Dog Diary, which can be used to record frequency and duration of barking dogs.
  • Firstly, visit the Agriculture Victoria list to determine possible causes of your dog barking, and consider a vet visit to rule out illness or injury. Ask your vet for advice on reducing barking.
  • If you can identify the cause, try rewarding the dog for remaining calm and not barking. For example, if your dog barks at your local postie every day, try to distract your dog with a treat or toy before the delivery is due to arrive.
  • If the cause is boredom or separation anxiety, walk your dog more frequently and provide enrichment activities such as toys with treats hidden inside.

Wandering dogs

Wandering dogs

If you own a dog, you must take responsibility for confining it safely within your property. Visit our responsible pet ownership page for information about your obligations to keep your dog on your property.

To report a wandering dog, or a dog attack, call Council on (03) 5348 2306. Visit our contact us page for after hours phone numbers. See animal emergencies page for more information.

Wandering livestock

If you find livestock wandering on or near Hepburn Shire roads, please contact Council on 5348 2306. If livestock is wandering on or near Hepburn Shire roads outside Council office hours, call our emergency after-hours number on 0419 587 955.

Please identify road names or nearby landmarks or locations, to help our staff find the animals. If the livestock are located on a highway or major road, VicRoads should be notified on 131 170. If you’re not sure, please call 5348 2306 to check with Council.

Property owners with inadequate fencing will be investigated by Council. Failure to comply with a livestock fencing notice will result in fines.

Wandering cats

Council receives many complaints in relation to domestic and feral cats causing a nuisance. We are continuing to work to reduce feral cat populations in the Hepburn Shire. We ask that all cat owners also play their part by keeping their cat contained to their property, especially at night, to protect your pet’s safety and that of wildlife.

Wandering cats are a danger to local wildlife, as they can injure or kill local wildlife including ringtail possums, birds, frogs and lizards. Cats may also encounter snakes, risking injury or death.

Territorial disputes can spread disease or cause injury, potentially costing money and causing distress for cat owners.

To report a wandering cat, contact Council on (03) 5348 2306.

To arrange collection of a cat trap (see below).

Cat traps

Anyone intending to use a cat trap must notify nearby properties before setting the trap, by placing flyers in their letterboxes, and posting signs in neighbouring streets, advising that a cat trap will soon be used in the area.

Cat traps are an important part of managing the feral cat population in Hepburn Shire. Council’s procedure when receiving complaints is to supply the complainant with a cat cage ($131 bond refundable on return of cage), which are ONLY allowed to be set overnight, with certain restrictions.

When a cat is caught, Council should be notified as soon as possible to arrange a pick-up and delivery to the Ballarat Animal Shelter, or the complainant may take the cat to the Ballarat Animal Shelter themselves.