By Tina Seirlis
A statistic widely referenced in various local government reports tells us our municipality is 74-per cent nature based, made up of water catchments and an abundance of parks and forest. Moorabool residents enjoy a smorgasbord of locations where they can experience fresh air, stretch their legs, immerse themselves in the great outdoors, and at many locations, walk dogs.
Rupert Vance Moon Reserve (Moon Reserve for short) is just one of these locations delivering an aspirational experience which unites many of the area’s unique attributes for locals and visitors alike. This popular 2.9km flat walking track is ideally situated, bordered by the Avenue on one side, the Lerderderg River on the other, enveloping market gardens in the middle. Named after locally-born Victoria Cross winner Rupert Vance ‘Mick’ Moon recognised for heroic leadership during WWI, the Reserve is not just a place to enjoy, but a place to respect and reflect, likewise factoring in proximity and vantage towards the magnificent living memorial that is the Avenue of Honour.
The Reserve is abundant with wildlife and signage recommends visitors keep a look out for snakes.
However, it is not only snakes the users of this Reserve need to be wary of…dog poo is a leading concern.
According to Moorabool Shire Council the Reserve comprises a mix of on and off-lead areas for dogs, with reports to the Moorabool News of pungent items lurking in the grass.
Dog faeces are being left behind by certain owners of ‘man’s best friend’, attaching to the shoes of unsuspecting joggers, walkers and local children.
Following advice about uncollected dog droppings on the walking track and riverbank, and within easy access to the Council-supplied doggy litter bags and bins, the Moorabool News can unfortunately corroborate this information, having undertaken a review of the site.
It may only be a case of a few rather than many, with some of these beloved pets seemingly denied the dignity of their poop being collected by their owners in line with local laws.
Dog faeces are broadly considered to be a health hazard containing many pathogens and bacteria, with the potential to seriously impact local waterways. In fact, a town in southern France is so fed up with non-compliant owners that is commencing a two year trial to DNA document all local dogs and test uncollected dog faeces to catch owner culprits.
Moorabool Shire Council CEO Derek Madden told the Moorabool News the public can report sightings of dog faeces in public spaces within the Shire.
“Where reports are made, Council officers undertake patrols of the area to educate and inform on the requirements of responsible pet ownership,” he said.
Mr Madden said under Section 8.7(a) (Dog Excrement) of the Moorabool Local Laws 2019, there is a prescribed penalty unit to ensure that a person in charge of any dog does not allow any part of the excrement of the dog to remain in any public place.
“Pursuant to Section 8.7(b) of the Moorabool Local Laws 2019, a person in charge of any dog in a public place must carry a litter bag or suitable litter device to remove any excrement left by the dog.”
Anyone concerned about dog faeces within public spaces in the Shire is encouraged to report them via a request or complaint through Council’s website. A list of dog off-leash parks can also be searched on the site.