Stray animal incidents increasing

By Country News

The amount of time Murrindindi Shire Council local law officers are spending responding to incidents of wandering livestock has increased substantially in the past month.

Officers have received a number of calls from concerned residents reporting stray stock wandering onto their land from neighbouring and nearby properties.

The reports include sheep and horses, but have mostly been attributed to cattle.

Infrastructure and development services general manager Elaine Wyatt said a number of entirely preventable factors contributed to stock straying from their own properties.

‘‘Inadequate fencing and minimal feed are often to blame when livestock is found in neighbouring properties,’’ Ms Wyatt said.

As well as the nuisance and inconvenience of wandering onto neighbouring properties, the escaping livestock are proving to be a safety concern for the wider community as they make their way onto roads and become a potential traffic hazard.

Ms Wyatt said the community needed to be aware of the likely consequences of stock escaping from properties.

‘‘Livestock owners should be reminded that under the Impounding of Livestock Act 1994, landowners are within their rights to impound any wandering livestock found on their property.’’

Livestock impoundment in the Shire of Murrindindi will cost irresponsible cattle owners at least $80 worth of fees, with a cost of $86 for the first beast, and $3.50 per head for every other beast.

Feed costs of $20 per head per day will also hit owners’ hip pockets, with transport and travel costs depending on the number and type of stock impounded.

‘‘It is important that stock owners remember their duty to keep stock confined within the boundaries of their properties,’’ Ms Wyatt said.