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EDUCATION

Promoting Community Education

Petra Edwards reports on initiatives with a local council in South Australia to spread the

T

he City of Charles Sturt is a local government council in the state of South Australia (SA), Australia. As a council, we have many responsibilities relating to animal management within the area, including dog registrations, investigating barking dog complaints, excess dog ownership permits, collecting dogs wandering at large and investigating dog attacks. As with all councils in South Australia, enforcement of these aspects of dog ownership are a requirement under the Dog and Cat Management Act, www.bit.ly/2nNXX2C, and generally result in expensive fines for dog guardians not adhering to the law. While enforcement is a required aspect of our roles, the Charles Sturt Council has an overarching philosophy of education and community engagement first and foremost. The Charles Sturt Urban Animal Management Plan (UAMP) allows for the design and rollout of various community education campaigns concerning responsible dog ownership and dog behavior, training and communication. Our previous campaigns have included: • The creation of a seasonal summer role, beach education officer (currently filled by myself, as a forcefree trainer and PPG Australia (PPGA) committee member) which ensures dog owners and families can share our beaches safely and without incident. This role incorporates a Thank You CamPromotion for the City of Charles paign, www.bit.ly/2mF5Fvh, Sturt canine body language quiz which includes a free leash, 12

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017

Doggy Day on the Beach has seen record numbers attending and learning about force-free training

Photo: City of Charles Sturt

A dog having fun at community event Doggy Day on the Green

Photo: City of Charles Sturt

force-free message, and her own involvement in the program

treats, and doggy bag giveaways for responsible dog owners (e.g. owners who have their dogs on a leash during the on-leash times, who watch their dogs and have effective control during off-leash times, and who pick up after their dogs). • Free educational pop-up sessions themed around responsible dog ownership, body language, or kids and dogs, located on the beach where owners can attend with their dogs and ask questions about training or behavior. • Videos and social media posts about dogs in hot weather (we regularly reach above 95°F (35°C) in summer in SA), responsible dog ownership, and buying puppies over Christmas, www.bit.ly/2myNB6L. • Community engagement events: Doggy Day at the Beach – promoting responsible dog ownership with stalls relating to training, behavior and dog care with a record attendance over 2000 in 2016. Doggy Day on the Green – our first event promoting force-free and qualified trainers with educational workshops for dogs and their guardians. • Free community educational seminars put together by PPG steering committee member, Debra Millikan and a team of forcefree SA trainers (other local government councils are now following our lead). Before You Get Your Dog – promoting responsible dog ownership and considerations for families before they

BARKS from the Guild May 2017  

The bi-monthly trade publication from the Pet Professional Guild covering all things animal behavior and training, canine, feline, equine, p...

BARKS from the Guild May 2017  

The bi-monthly trade publication from the Pet Professional Guild covering all things animal behavior and training, canine, feline, equine, p...