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A Tough One

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Well I think it will be a tough one.

It's in Australia. The town I live in is Port Hedland.

Here goes...

There are many stray dogs that roam the streets of South Hedland and Port Hedland, not to mention many cats. Before, you never saw the cats during the day, and only at night, but now you now have to dodge stray and feral cats and dogs while driving to the shops. I'm also a courier driver as part of my employment. And frequently, I see more and more of this.

The local rangers have the attitude of "We'll get there when we get there." or "The animal isn't going to be there by the time we come along so why bother?" or "It's 5:00AM or after 5:00PM, what do you expect us to do?" Therein lies the problem, it's early morning or dusk when the bulk of the strays and ferals come out. During the heat of the day, it gets to 35 to 40C plus. It easily tops the 100F mark, so no animal in their right mind is going to wander the streets until it's cooler.

It seems that the rangers are turning a blind eye to the problem and the council appears to be ignoring any complaints made. A few months ago, letters were even written to the local newspaper from angry residents fed up with the situation. No-one from the rangers or the council replied.

The issue is simply festering. I'm wondering is there anything that can be done to get the council and the rangers to take responsibility and do something.

And just what is the legal responsibility of the council and the rangers? Where can I get a copy of the document?
post #2 of 4
Hi Mags! I'm posting this for a friend, one of our researchers for Stray Pet Advocacy. She is also the owner of the Feral Cats Blog.

G'day Mags and all ~

Links to animal laws and information for Port Hedland and Western Australia (WA):

Port Hedland Ranger Services webpage:

Control of dogs is the responsibility of [Port Hedland] Council's Ranger Services under the Dog Act 1976. Dog owners should be aware that it is a requirement that all dogs over the age of three months be registered with Council. Failure to register your dog can lead to an 'on the spot' fine of $100. Dogs can be registered at the Civic Centre, Mc Gregor Street Port Hedland and at the South Hedland Library during office hours. All dogs must be registered annually by 31 October each year.

Council's Local Law on Dogs also contains requirements for the keeping of dogs to ensure that they do not become a nuisance to the general community. Dogs must be kept on a leash away from home except in designated dog exercise areas.

Dogs found wandering or acting in a threatening manner may be impounded. Council's dog pound is located at its Depot in Cajarina Street Wedgefield. Release and poundage fees apply.

Instances of dog attack or repeated threatening behaviour may lead to the dog being destroyed and fines being imposed on the owner by the local court.

Up to 2 dogs may be kept on any property unless it is a registered kennel or Council specifically grants permission for more than 2 dogs.

Council also has a Local Law on Cat Control which aims to encourage responsible cat ownership and reduce public and environmental nuisance caused by cats. This includes a requirement for identification on the cat to assist in reuniting stray cats with their owner.

To obtain more information or make a report or request, telephone Ranger Services on 9158 9300 or mobile 0418 913 045.

State of Western Australia - Statutes

Click on each animal-related entry under both Essential Legislation (such as Dog Act 1976 and Animal Welfare Act 2002), Other Legislation, and Essential Regulations (Dog Regulations 1976) and Other Regulations.
Animal Welfare Regulations 2003???

Western Australia Rangers Association (WARA):

Rangers Duties:

Animal Control Law Enforcement:

"Further information on animal control or registration of your pet may be obtained through your local Council or Ranger station."

Part of the mission of the RSPCA branch in Western Australia is:
to enforce existing laws relating to the protection of animals and to make representations to the Government for changes to these laws, when considered necessary.
· The Society employs nine full-time RSPCA Inspectors, five in the metropolitan area and three based in country centres.
The Society also has the assistance of some 47 Shire Rangers around the State who have been appointed as agents and Special Constables for the RSPCA. These people are invaluable in widening the scope of RSPCA activities in Western Australia.

RSPCA animal statistics for 2002-2003 and some preceding years for all of Australia and each state or territory are here:
Click on Statistics and select desired year(s)
or download 2003 here:

Cat Bill 2003
Summary of Giz Watson's Proposed State Legislation for the Welfare and Management of Cats
The Greens (WA) intend to introduce statewide cat legislation which will be similar to laws governing dogs. There has been considerable public debate concerning the place of cats in the Australia environment and the relationship of the domestic to the feral cat as well as calls for cat numbers to be brought under control. Few would deny that while a responsibly owned cat can provide valuable companionship, stray and feral cats present a major problem. We believe that effective cat management hinges on control measures aimed at both companion and feral cats.

December 11, 2003
Introduction and First Reading
Bill introduced, on motion by Hon Giz Watson, and read a first time.
Second Reading
HON GIZ WATSON (North Metropolitan) [2.01 pm]: I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Currently, local authorities have the ability to create by-laws for cats. A number of local governments have created such by-laws. However, there is a strong argument for statewide legislation similar to the statewide approach to dog management. State legislation vesting the operation of these laws in local councils treats all councils and residents equally, while allowing for some local variations.

Cat Bill 2003
Greens introduce Cat Bill Media Release, 11 December 2003
Cat Bill 2003: Introductory Notes, Thursday 12 December 2003
Cat Bill 2003 as tabled in Legislative Council, 11 December 2003

Councillors' legal responsibilities - might check:

State of Western Australia - Statutes

Click on Essential Legislation > Local Government Act 1995
The Local Government Act 1995 offers the power for Western Australian local governments to make any local laws considered necessary for the good government of their districts. A local law is invalid to the extent that it is inconsistent with any State or Federal law.

h Local Laws Register
Local laws are enacted by local governments. The Department of Local Government and Regional Development does not maintain electronic copies of the actual legislation. It does however record details of when each local law was made. The listing below provides links to html documents that provide the Government Gazette references for when local laws were made, amended or repealed. People wishing to see the details of any particular local law may use the Government Gazette references as a guide or inquire directly with the local government concerned.

Downloadable from Port Hedland website under Our Council > Public Documents on left
* Code of Conduct

Port Hedland WA Councillors - Contact Info:

Would this 2004 Community Support funding opportunity in Port Hedland, although not large, be available to local non-profit animal groups for a project(s) addressing dog and cat problems? The closing date for [April 2004] applications is 4pm Wednesday 31 March 2004.

Government of Western Australia (WA)
Department of Local Government and Regional Development



Governance and Statutory Support Division
Compliance and Advice Branch
Assesses, and where necessary, inquires into complaints about local government operations. It conducts inquiries under the Local Government Act 1995 into alleged breaches of statutory requirements by local governments, council members and staff. It is also pro-active in monitoring local government's compliance with the Act and associated regulations.
Staff manage the administration of operational matters under the Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds, Cemeteries, Dog and Control of Vehicles (Off-road areas) Acts. http://www.dlgrd.wa.gov.au/servicescontguide.asp#gov

Good luck!

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thank you Heidi!

I'll be sending those links along to the people I know who have been having problems with the local rangers and the council. It will be up to them to decide whether they want to take it further.

Do thank your friend Barb for me for providing the invaluable links.
post #4 of 4
Originally posted by a_loveless_gem
Thank you Heidi!

I'll be sending those links along to the people I know who have been having problems with the local rangers and the council. It will be up to them to decide whether they want to take it further.

Do thank your friend Barb for me for providing the invaluable links.
I have contacted the Western Australian Rangers Association who are very interested in hearing your information. Lee Vallence, the Ranger Team Leader for Port Hedland has been copied on your comments and they have indicated that they would like to contact you regarding the problem. If you are interested, please forward contact information to me via private message.
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