Council plan to limit pets causes a flap

NOT HAPPY: Grafton bird breeder John Minshull is fearful of proposed new pet laws that will limit the number of birds he can keep. Photo: Debrah Novak
NOT HAPPY: Grafton bird breeder John Minshull is fearful of proposed new pet laws that will limit the number of birds he can keep. Photo: Debrah Novak

BIRD lovers in the Clarence Valley are in a flap after council revealed a proposal to limit the number of animals they can keep in their backyards.

Grafton aviarist John Minshull said he was shocked to learn Clarence Valley Council will debate a proposal to restrict the number of birds he can keep.

"We didn't hear anything about it going on until we found out the council had put a draft proposal out on exhibition," Mr Minshull said.

At its October meeting council approved putting the draft Keeping of Animals Policy on public exhibition for 28 days.

The draft policy followed a notice of motion from Cr Karen Toms at the October 2013 meeting, calling for the designation of the two Lawrence wetland areas as wildlife protection zones so cats could be lawfully excluded from the areas.

The notice also called for the development of a Keeping of Animals Policy that limits the number of animals that can be kept in residential zones.

Mr Minshull, who said he has more than 100 birds in 30 aviaries at his home in Grafton, described the draft policy as an attack on people who like to keep birds for a hobby.

He was particularly upset by the proposal to limit the number of cockatoos he could keep.

"They want to limit the number of cockatoos I can have to one," he said.

"I've got 100 parrots in my backyard and I've never had any problems with my neighbours."

Mr Minshull said a number of bird-keeping organisations, including the Parrot Society of NSW and the Avicultural Society of Australia, were taking a close look at the draft policy.

Dog and cat owners could also have concerns with the proposals in the draft policy.

The draft policy recommends people who want to keep more than three dogs or cats at a residential-zoned property will need to get council approval.

Council environment, planning and community director Des Schroder said the draft policy that was on exhibition applies only to urban areas.

"Submissions have now closed but they will be collated and assessed and a report will be prepared for the February meeting of council," he said.

"Councillors will take the views of those who made comment into account before they reach a final decision."

Topics:  clarence valley council

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