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Can you believe it is time to start talking about cats and dogs again? Councils will soon need to develop a new Domestic Animal Management Plan (DAMP). Now is a good time to review the objectives and actions from your current DAMP and also prepare for your next plan. Let’s work together to create a DAMP that meets the needs and aspirations of your community, while engaging a whole of Council approach to deliver the objectives and actions of the plan.

Conversation Co is experienced in supporting councils to develop their DAMPs — whether it is engaging with the community stakeholders, workshopping the objectives and actions with your internal teams, or writing the DAMP. We’ve worked with the City of Whittlesea, Merri-Bek Council, Darebin City Council and Hume City Council to prepare their most recent DAMPs. We’ve also helped to implement actions arising from the DAMP — Dog Off Leash Guidelines, Cat Curfew and Cat Confinement Policies. Here’s how we can help!

Help with your broader community engagement

What better way to understand your community’s love for their pets, what support and education they need as well as any ‘pet peeves’ (excuse the pun) than to go out in your community and ask them. Engaging your community is crucial for creating effective and sustainable solutions. Community engagement builds trust, enhances compliance with regulations, and encourages ongoing support for initiatives like spaying/neutering programs or vaccination drives. Ultimately, by fostering collaboration and awareness, community involvement not only improves the implementation of animal management strategies but also promotes a culture of responsible pet ownership and animal welfare within the community.

By involving residents, pet owners, veterinarians, animal welfare advocates and council staff in the development and implementation of your DAMP, you can tap into a wealth of diverse perspectives and insights. We can create an online survey, run community pop up events or community workshops. 

Help to create internal buy in 

We can help you to engage with internal partners. Internal workshops are an excellent way to bring staff together from across Council together to review data, research, and community findings. These collaborative workshops enable council staff to share insights from their roles, whether it be customer service sharing feedback collected from customer requests and complaints, community service sharing their experiences from home visits, to the animal management or local laws teams sharing challenges with delivery and implementation. Working in this collaborative way means your objectives and activities to meet these objectives have the support of your internal teams. 

Furthermore, these gatherings foster a sense of teamwork as participants discuss how they can effectively share resources and support each other in achieving the outlined objectives. By working together in this structured environment, staff can harness their collective knowledge and skills to deliver the objectives and actions from their DAMPs.

Help to engage community stakeholder and partners

Council can not deliver the DAMP alone. Much of what is contained within the DAMP is delivered in partnership with veterinarians, animal welfare organisations, animal rescues, shelters, wildlife and environmental groups. Engaging with these groups are crucial to inform the development of a DAMP. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Expertise and insights, each stakeholder brings specialised knowledge and experience that can inform different aspects of animal management, such as health care practices, animal welfare and behaviour, rescue and adoption processes and wildlife and environmental impacts.
  • Identifying needs, priorities and concerns of each stakeholder group as well as suggestions for how these may be addressed.
  • Ensuring practicality and feasibility through feedback on the viability of the proposed objectives and actions.
  • Relationship building with key stakeholders to create opportunities for partnerships to deliver objectives and actions within the DAMP.

Overall, stakeholder engagement be that via interviews, collecting key stats or workshops stakeholder engagement will ensure your DAMP is informed and supported by those directly involved in and affected by animal management practices.

Help preparing your DAMP draft

We can help you write the DAMP as part of a complete project, or write the DAMP using your community engagement findings. We can help write the DAMP in a way that is easy for community to read, yet informs the work of your Council teams. We will write the DAMP in a way that:

  • Enhances animal welfare through education and responsible ownership practices, while also implementing strategies for population control through spaying, neutering, and adoption efforts. 
  • Ensures public safety remains a priority with rigorous enforcement of animal control regulations. 
  • Fosters community engagement through awareness campaigns and educational workshops that promote responsible pet ownership and understanding of animal behaviour. 
  • Addresses environmental impacts, including waste management and wildlife conservation efforts. 


Here are top two ideas to make your DAMP even more effective

Work with neighbouring Councils

In 2020, Conversation Co worked in partnership with three neighbouring Councils in a sector-leading approach to develop their DAMPs. The collaborative approach allowed the Councils to maximise their budget and engagement reach but also provided the opportunity for the animal management teams to network, share resources and develop shared actions for the DAMPs. If you share a facility (animal shelter) or share community groups and rescues it might make sense to work together to develop your DAMP. Reach out to us to hear more about this experience and how it might be useful in your Council.

Working with City of Whittlesea. Pop-up for community engagement about DAMP

Design your DAMPs for community appeal

More recently councils have moved away from the typewriter styled DAMP documents towards documents that not only inform but also inspire and engage the community, fostering a sense of connection and shared ownership of the DAMP. They are easy and interesting to read, use images and infographics, combining community sentiments about pet ownership as well as the objectives and actions. See below for some examples. Give your DAMP the best chance of being used by other community groups and organisations by giving it a polished design.

Community engagement pop-up about cat curfew


Get in touch before you create the RFQ

We can help you figure out the parts of the project you have capacity, skills and interest to deliver and you can write an RFQ that invites responses that offer the right level of support. We can share the ways we have worked with other Council and see how they are approaching the planning and delivery of this project. Know what you want, send us your information and we will prepare a quote. 

Conversation Co

Conversation Co proudly acknowledges and celebrates First Peoples of Australia and their ongoing strength in upholding some of the world's oldest living cultures. We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands throughout what is now Victoria – where we live, conduct pop-ups, and engage with our communities – and pay our respects to their Elders, past and present. Conversation Co acknowledges First Peoples' sovereignty has never been ceded. The strength, resilience and pride of First Peoples, their cultures, communities and identities continue to grow and thrive today despite the impact of colonisation and ongoing experiences of racism.

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