28 July 2023

Wandering dogs an issue for residents, council survey says

| Cape York Weekly
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Wandering dogs were highlighted as a major issue in the results of a community survey, released by Cook Shire Council.

Wandering dogs were highlighted as a major issue in the results of a community survey, released by Cook Shire Council.

MORE than 400 people across Cook Shire have voiced their concerns over wandering dogs and crime in a recent Cook Shire Council survey.

While almost all respondents agreed Cook Shire was a great place to live, more than 35 per cent thought Cook Shire Council as the governing body needed improvement, with community safety and animal management considered two key areas that were failing.

More than 200 people ranked Cook Shire “poor to terrible” for community safety and crime prevention, while 66 per cent also thought the council’s animal management was sub-par.

“The dogs roaming around town are a major concern and worry us as parents with young kids,” one respondent said.

“I feel it’s only a matter of time until there is a tragic incident.”

Many of the issues raised by respondents were outside the sphere of local government, including calls to beef up the police presence in Cooktown and making parents accountable for youth crime.

“(There) needs to be more police available at the right times,” one survey respondent commented.

“Perhaps one stationed at small communities over different weekends.”

Fred Paterson with the outer security door which was smashed at Cape York Tyres on Saturday.

Crime was highlighted as a priority area for improvement. Pictured is Fred Paterson, whose Cooktown mechanical business was broken into earlier this year.

Access to housing, health services, local roads and bridges and youth services rounded out the top six priority areas that ranked poorly in the survey.

Cook Shire has created an action plan to tackle the priority areas, and the council’s CEO Brian Joiner said it would provide regular updates.

“We also intend to do community surveys on a regular basis so we can measure our progress and stay engaged with our residents and ratepayers,” Mr Joiner said.

“We want to make sure we’re engaging with the community and have residents involved in community-led solutions.”

Mr Joiner also highlighted a number of measures already in place to begin improving the key priorities, including funding in the 2023-24 council budget for animal de-sexing and security cameras.

The survey also showed residents and ratepayers thought the council was providing great recognition for First Nations peoples and top-notch airport and library services.

Cook Shire also ranked better than comparative councils for senior services, community facilities and tourism and destination marketing.

“This is very much a baseline,” Mr Joiner said.

“We haven’t done a community survey on this scale for more than a decade, and these results will give us something to measure from going forward.”

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