A Hume local speaks on how pet responsibility is all part of the joy

Published on 21 July 2023


Born and bred Hume resident Erin Tucker has been a dog person all her life and currently has two Australian shepherds, Finn and Freya. 

While responsibility in pet ownership is something all pet owners must take on, Erin’s involvement in the “dog world” comes with its own agenda – but much of it has benefits for all local households. 

First, Erin needed to know her registration regulations around her less than average dogs.  

Generally, registering pets that aren’t desexed through Hume City Council comes at a higher cost but there are exemptions. 

“Both of my dogs are purebreds that weren’t desexed for breeding purposes, and Freya is registered with Dogs Victoria (the Victorian Canine Association) as she’s doing dog sports,” Erin says.  

This level of ownership is above what most households would consider average, Erin admits, but adds that while the process of registering her pets in Hume over the past 15 years has been easy, it still takes a little work. 

"The registration renewal I find really easy. When I first get a pet I usually like to go into Council’s office because it’s easier to pass on all the details that I want to.” 

As an animal enthusiast, Erin is continually focused on the impact of cats, and dog droppings - many of the same areas Council receives regular community feedback about. 

These issues were identified through more than 1,000 responses to an online survey used to draft the new Domestic Animal Management Plan (DAMP).

While we wait for the new plan to be adopted this year, Erin feels locals are getting better at understanding the responsibility that comes with pet ownership, and she says Hume City Council is helping with that. 

An email sent to residents by Council asking for recommended improvements was something Erin responded to, and she confirms it had an impact - particularly with bin placement along the Moonee Ponds Creek Trail. 

“It’s gotten a lot better. We have bins that have been put in recently along Moonee Ponds Creek, which is something I pointed out to Council. My suggestions were put in about a month after the email.” 

And when it comes to those suggestions for Hume City Council, Erin mirrors a lot of what we learned from those 1,000+ survey responses. 

“So, there are now more bins with poo bags attached to them. However, there is still a lack of people picking up after dogs, and I don’t think that will ever go away. 

“And people don’t always abide by the off-lead rules. Hume has parks where you can take dogs off-lead and where you can’t, but it’s pretty hard to police.” 

There are plans in place to continue addressing these concerns through the new DAMP, with the following areas of action considered for the final document: 

- Reducing the number of nuisance complaints by: 

  • increasing the number of patrols in dog off-leash areas and on the spot fines 

  • auditing the availability of dog waste bins in public parks 

- Making it easier to report animal management issues

Undertaking research to understand areas and times where dog attacks are frequent to help allocate resources 

Decreasing the number of stray, abandoned and unwanted pets by: 

  •  researching and considering ways to incentivise desexing

  • providing community information around stray cat management and responsible pet breeding requirements. 

For Erin, the commitment to these rules and regulations for pets – and the responsibilities of maintaining them – are truly part of the joys of pet parenting. 

And it’s a lot easier to make them work if you have the right fit. 

“I think if you’re adopting a dog with no intention to walk it, you’re going to get issues – barking, tearing up the backyard, destroying things.  

“All dogs deserve walking, but you might go for a lazy dog like a greyhound – they're lounge lizards! Or a Cavelier. Because at the end of the day what is the point of adopting a dog if you don’t want to spend time with it?” 

And her final tips? 

“Do your research. Make sure a breed is suited to your lifestyle. If you have allergies consider that pet is suitable. And obviously, register, de-sex and microchip so if they get out you can get them back!” 

Have your say on Hume City Council’s draft Domestic Animal Management Plan by close of business, Monday 24 July.