Sunshine Coast Council Community Programs Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said unfortunately this was a peak time of year for dogs to stray.
“Dog owners, please be responsible and ensure your pet is contained securely on your property or on the leash when in public unless you are in a designated off-leash area,” she said.
“The simple action of leaving the gate or front door open can unfortunately cause much heart ache when your four legged friend manages to slip out and go missing.
“I encourage all residents to work together as a united community by practicing or encouraging responsible dog ownership and help to keep our local neighbourhoods, parks and beaches safe.
“There’s no harm in politely advising your friend or neighbour at the local on-leash park to pop their pooch safely back on the leash.
“While it might seem like a minor misdemeanour, unfortunately dogs off leash or stray dogs roaming the streets are more likely to be a nuisance to others, be involved in a dog attack or be hit by a car.
“Council can’t be everywhere at once – if you see a stray dog or a dog acting aggressively please report it to council immediately on 5475 7272 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Since the beginning of the year we have been undertaking an extensive education program across the Sunshine Coast region to raise awareness about the local dog laws and encourage responsible behaviour from dog owners.
“The community should be well aware of the local dog laws by now. We are serious about keeping our public spaces safe and will issue penalties to irresponsible dog owners.”
Cr McKay said the higher incidence of straying dogs also provided a timely reminder of the importance of registering and microchipping your pets.
“Registered and microchipped dogs can quickly be reunited with their owners if they stray,” she said.
“Also remember to ensure your pet’s microchip details are up-to-date with your microchip register to help council, the vet or lost animal shelter to reunite you quickly and easily.
“If your pet goes missing and your microchip details are not up-to-date and you do not know which database the chip is registered to, visit council’s website for some simple tips about how to resolve this without delay.”
All dogs and cats must be registered and wear a council-issued registration tag when in public. Significant reduction in registration fees apply for desexed and microchipped dogs and cats, and for pensioners.