More dogs could have devastating effect on koala population

SLOW MOVERS: Koala Action Group fear more dogs on properties will be destructive for the Redlands koala population.
SLOW MOVERS: Koala Action Group fear more dogs on properties will be destructive for the Redlands koala population.

A Queensland community group says koalas will not stand a chance if proposed animal laws are amended to allow more than two dogs on acreage properties.

These are the fears of Koala Action Group president Debbie Pointing after Redland City Council called for community consultation to change the number of dogs allowed on properties in the district southeast of Brisbane.

"The proposed blanket change means acreage owners who live on properties larger than 2000 square metres could end up having up to four dogs living next door. This will no doubt cause great angst amongst many residents who have moved to acreage to enjoy the peace and native wildlife," she said.

Redland City Council set out to investigate options around flexibility of its current animal management laws after deputy mayor and Mount Cotton Cr Julie Talty brought the motion before council in December last year.

Dog owners in the Redlands are currently allowed two dogs on their property but are able to have three with approval from council.

"I have had complaints from people who cannot keep their show dogs, even where the breed is very small and lives in the house, without making full application through the planning scheme for a boarding kennel.

"The current framework also has no recognition for volunteers in dog rescue and foster care," Cr Talty said.


The report showed property size was the most relevant consideration for determining the number of dogs that could be kept.

All local governments, excluding Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast councils, use land size to determine the number of dogs able to be kept, with zoning not considered.

The officers recommended no additional dogs be allowed at townhouses, units or multi-dwelling premises including aged age villages.

Bigger properties between 2001 and 10,000 square metres can have three dogs, but four with council permission.

More than 10,000 square metre properties can have up to four dogs.

"Council, through its Koala Ambulance operation run by volunteers, is well aware of the devastating effects for koalas when multiple dogs are present on a property.

"It is a known fact that, when in numbers, dogs revert to pack behaviour. Records show that slow-moving animals like koalas don't stand a chance," Ms Pointing said.

The council report also allows residents keeping show, agility dogs, or foster dogs to have a maximum of four dogs with council approval, regardless of property size. Approval will be given to members of recognised associations including animal welfare and rescue organisations.

"We are disappointed at council's decision to proceed with a proposal to potentially increase dog numbers on rural properties over 2000 square metres, rather than making a simple amendment to accommodate the special circumstances for a handful of residents who breed, show or foster dogs," Ms Pointing said.

She said koala numbers in the Redlands were now less than 1000.

"Our group questions why council would vote to potentially increase one of the very threats that statistics show has assisted in their demise.

"Acreage properties are an instrumental part of wildlife corridors across the Redlands and must remain that way without the additional threat of multiple dogs."

The review will go out to the community for consultation.

This story Dog fight brewing over potential threat to koala population first appeared on Redland City Bulletin.