Problems with Animals

Vaccinate your pet rabbits

In March 2017, RHDV1 K5 which is a variant of Calicivirus that causes a fatal haemorrhagic disease in rabbits was released in Australia. It assists in the management of pests (European Rabbit Oryctolagus Cuniculus).

A vaccine (Cylap®) is available, to help protect pet rabbits from the various strains of Calicivirus.

Precautions for rabbit owners

If you own a pet rabbit you should take the following precautions:

  • Prevent direct and indirect contact between domestic and wild rabbits.
  • Avoid cutting grass and feeding it to rabbits if there is the risk of contamination from wild rabbits.
  • Wash hands, with warm soapy water between handling rabbits.
  • Good insect control is also important and will help reduce the risks of introduction of both RHDV and Mymatosis. Insect control could include insect proofing the hutch or keeping pet rabbits indoors.
  • Infected rabbits should be isolated and disposed of in a manner that will minimise environmental contamination.
  • All cages and equipment should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Disinfectants that can be used to decontaminate any equipment include 10 per cent bleach, 10 per cent sodium hydroxide, or parvocide disinfectants.

The vaccine is considered effective as RHDV1 K5 is not a new virus; it is a Korean variant of the existing (Czech) virus already widespread in Australia.

The current vaccine for rabbit calcivirus (Cylap RCD) is not fully protective against RHDDV2. However, there is evidence of some cross protection between type one and type two of the virus. Keeping domestic or pet rabbit vaccinations up to date is recommended to provide the maximum possible protection against this new strain.

Current vaccination recommendations for domestic rabbits

The Australian Veterinary Association recommends regular vaccination. For the RHDV1,1A and RHDV1-K5 viruses annual vaccination is recommended. For the variant that emerged in parts of Australia in 2015 called RHDV2 there is no specific vaccination available in Australia. The Australian Veterinary Association suggests protocols that should be followed in consultation with your local veterinarian.

Injured wildlife

If you see injured wildlife that needs rescuing please contact Wildlife Victoria immediately on 1300 094 535 or report it using their website.

Deceased animals

If you see a deceased animal on Council land, please contact us on 9205 2200 and we will remove it. We do not remove deceased animals from private property.

Keeping other animals as pets

Council's General Local Law No.1-2013 has limitations on how many animals you can keep without a permit.

Without a permit, a resident of land less than 4,000 square metres in a residential area can keep no more than:

  • Five guinea pigs;
  • Five rabbits;
  • Five ferrets;
  • Five head of poultry (no roosters are permitted);
  • Six pigeons. Unless the owner is a member of a pigeon racing club approved by Council, in which case the maximum number that can be kept is 60; or
  • 20 other caged birds.

No permit will be issued for the keeping of goats, sheep, pigs, horses or farm animals on any land less than 4,000 square metres.

If you live in a flat or unit, you will need a permit for more than:

  • Five caged birds.

To find out more visit the Keeping Multiple Animals page, where you can apply for a Multiple Animal Permit.

Wasps

Residents must remove any wasp nests they find on their property.

It is an offence to fail to remove wasp nests and may result in a penalty infringement notice being issued under Council's General Local Law No.1-2013.