Of all the comments and questions I could have got when I first became Mayor, the question I did get was, ‘what are you going to do about dogs?’ The topic has come up nearly every week since.

There are two issues when it comes to dogs. There is a number of dogs in various areas that seem to have no owners and therefore live off the land, or your chooks. The Council has worked to reduce the problem of wild and feral dogs by allocating a substantial amount of the current year budget to a trapping program. The Council relies on your help to identify problem areas and particular dogs. This has been successful in the Virginia area.

The other issue is the number of dogs on premises and roaming dogs, some of which have been accused of attacking other animals or people.

The proposed draft Litchfield Council Animal Management By-Laws will repeal the current Dog Management By-Laws which had limited Councils power to tackle the dog issues in the Municipality. This By-Law process began four years ago with public consultations and community input. A Council and community committee was also established. Drafting work has continued within the Local Government Department. The draft By-Laws are now out for you, the Litchfield citizen to comment, question and provide feedback via the contact us page on the website, email or letter. Feedback must be received by 19 March for Council to consider at the April Council meeting. Full draft By-Laws are available at Council and on website.

To answer a couple of comments made so far in relation to the proposed By-Laws. All dogs will need to be registered as well as microchipped. Fees and charges are not mentioned in the By-Laws as these are set in each year budget. It is anticipated that in the first year there will be a moratorium on registration fees. Council may set a number of dogs that may be kept on property before a licence is required for example a smaller number in an Activity Centre.

Also I would like to congratulate residents for their engagement with the Waste Management Survey. We had over 900 people completed the survey. Full details will be released shortly but response indicates an overwhelming support for waste minimisation and reuse/recycling.

If you have any concern or queries about council work or actions there are a number of ways to get in contact: through the website, the Snap, Send, Solve app, email maree.bredhauer@litchfield.nt.gov.au . Next Council meeting is on Wednesday, 15 March at 6pm.