MELBOURNE NEWS

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Pet detectives on patrol

A man holding a small fluffy dog

As the owner of a moody chinchilla cat with high-maintenance fur and a love for premium chicken, animal management officer Nicholas Pecipajkovski loves animals of all shapes and sizes. 

This is lucky, because his team gets thrown constant curveballs. From a snake on Spencer Street to a peacock on the run in Kensington, they’ve seen it all. And Nick thrives on this unpredictability. 

‘Lately I’ve rescued a staffy that was running around a construction site, rehomed a rabbit and waded in a fountain at the Carlton Gardens to rescue a distressed duckling,’ Nick said. 

‘Whatever the job, we give it a go. But the most rewarding part of my week is reuniting owners with their lost pets. Registration and microchipping are so important.’ 

Did you know

There are 3532 cats and 4663 dogs registered in the City of Melbourne. We saw a large increase in pet ownership throughout the pandemic.

A person wading in a pond

Nick wades to the rescue of a distressed duckling

While Nick’s job has many heart-warming moments – including walking dogs for pet owners in apartment buildings under lockdown – the animal management team performs a critical service. 

This includes daily park patrols, responding to reports of barking dogs, animal welfare issues and dog attacks, and assessing compliance among pet shops, animal shelters and pet boarding establishments. 

Nick and his colleagues work closely with the RSPCA and police, pursuing fines and legal action where necessary.  

‘The animal management team is very hands-on and responsive,’ Nick said. 

‘We are out there trying to keep the community and animals safe. We listen to feedback and, when issues arise, we always try to have positive conversations with pet owners. 

‘People have been outdoors more than ever during the pandemic, and the city has an increasing amount of pet owners, green space and off-leash areas. 

‘As our city evolves, we will continue to work hard to ensure the community has good shared access to parks and public space, striking a good balance between people and pets.’  

For more information visit Pets.  

Top tips for responsible pet ownership 

– Register your cat or dog, or renew their registration, before 10 April every year. Registration and microchipping is required by law, even if your pet does not leave your premises, and helps us reunite you with your pet if they get lost.
– Get your pet from a shelter and carefully consider the right breed for your lifestyle. Some dogs require lots of exercise and are not suitable for apartments.
– Make sure your pet is happy, fed, properly trained and has appropriate enrichment. When you’re out, be considerate of other people, use a leash and pick up after your pet.
– Keep cats indoors or consider an enclosure or netting.

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