Dogs and Cats at the Crag
We love our pets. So much so that we want to take them everywhere. And therein lies the problem. Sometimes that everywhere includes the cliffs you climb at. In Victoria, most of the climbing areas are in National or State Parks. And apart from a few State parks and reserves that will allow leashed dogs, everywhere else is a no go. And no exceptions whatsoever for National Parks. There have been a couple of reports recently of climbers taking dogs and cats on leashes to the Grampians.
Short and sweet – Don’t do it. Politely – Please don’t do it. Below are a few bulleted points as to why these rules are in place. They are in place for everyone from day visitors to overnight campers to climbers. From a climbing community perspective, and from my perspective as someone who deals directly with access issues and land managers, this is not cool. It does influence non climbers and land managers opinions on the climbing community and it doesn’t bode well when I go in to bat for the community about the responsible actions of climbers. It’s also illegal and worth a hefty fine.
There are many reasons as to why it is not appropriate nor allowed, to bring animals into the park. In most cases, dogs have been the pet of choice to bring but it appears that pet cats have now joined the visitor list. Feral cats are a growing problem in the parks with a number of control programs currently being discussed. Their impact on the native wildlife is extensive. Bringing a pet cat into a park can attract feral cats merely through their scent.
Animals are not allowed in National Parks to ensure that the park is managed in accordance with its objectives, which is to preserve and protect the natural environment and to conserve flora and fauna.They can compete with or harass, chase, trample or prey upon native fauna, especially ground-dwelling species.They can also disturb wildlife by their scent, sounds, scratching and digging. They may also transmit diseases and parasites to native fauna.Their urine and excrement can attract wild dogs, foxes and feral cats.
Please don’t think that because your animal is on a lead and well behaved that it is an exception to the rule. And understand that by bringing your pet in, you will have influenced someone else to do the same with their beloved pet.
Note: The responsible actions of fellow climbers were to thank for the reports of these incidents. If you do see a doggie or moggie at the cliff, even if the owner is a friend and a generally all around nice person – please let them know it’s not right and to leave the furry family member at home.