Planning and Permits
Before you build any kennels, you will need to check with your local council to find out whether you will require any permits. Permits can relate to the construction of buildings and sheds, but can also relate to the ‘use’ of the land and the number of greyhounds you plan to keep. GRV has Advisory & Support Officers who can assist you with your dealings with Council if necessary – contact our Member Services Team on (03) 8329 1100.
There are different types of ‘permits’ that you may require to house or train greyhounds at your property. Permits are granted by your local council or shire, not by Greyhound Racing Victoria. Although the Planning Act provides some consistency across Victoria, every one of the 79 councils across the state can (and does) have their own set of rules that can override the Act.
Permits may relate to the number of animals housed on a property (excess animal permit, local laws permit), or may relate to what activities can be conducted on a property and what buildings can be constructed (planning permit). ‘Racing Dog Keeping’ and ‘Racing Dog Training’ are the two activities referred to in the Planning Act that apply to GRV participants.
Every property in Victoria is ‘zoned’. You can find out what zone your property is in by visiting land.vic.gov.au and clicking on ‘Property Reports’. You simply enter the address of your property, and select the ‘free planning report’. The report will show what zone your property is in, any ‘overlays’ that apply to your land, and what you can and can’t do.
The answer to this question will depend on your property zoning, the proposed size of your greyhound operation, and your Council’s rules. Some zonings do not allow for Racing Dog Training and Racing Dog Keeping at all. Other zonings will allow different numbers of animals to be housed.
If you are planning on building kennel facilities, the size, type and location of the kennel buildings may mean that you need to apply for a planning permit. The permit application will need to address the size and construction of the proposed building, but may also need to include information about how you plan to minimise the impact of your activities on neighbouring properties – such as visual screening, noise management and attenuation, and kennel routines and hours.
In terms of dog numbers – as a rough guide – if your property is in a residential zone, you will usually be allowed to keep 2 dogs without a permit. If you are in a farming zone, you will usually be allowed to keep up to 5 dogs without a permit. Many greyhound properties fall into the ‘Rural Living’ zone which allows 2 dogs, but possibly more depending on your Council and the size of your property. If you search your Council website there will be information regarding dog numbers and permit requirements.
Remember: you are not required to register your greyhounds with your Council, but you must comply with the dog numbers allowed for your zone, and the permit requirements. ‘Dog numbers’ includes both greyhounds and domestic pet dogs in the total.
Generally speaking permits are not ‘eternal’ and need to be renewed, particularly excess animal permits and local law permits. In many cases these permits are granted to the person or people who apply, not to the property, so they cannot be handed on to the next owner.
In regards to planning permits relating to the use of the land for racing dog keeping and racing dog training there may be ‘Existing Use Rights’ that may influence the need to apply for a permit. If you do not have a permit, but you (or others) have been operating a greyhound business on the property continuously for more than 15 years, then you will have what is called ‘existing use rights’. You will need to be able to provide evidence to the Council that the land has been used for housing or training greyhounds for that length of time or longer.
Each Council has information about permits on their website and there is usually a form to fill in and a fee for lodging the form. In some cases the permit application may be open for comment/complaint (for example, from your direct neighbours) and you may be required to display a sign on your property indicating that you are in the process of applying for a permit. You may also need to be inspected by Council Officers as part of the approval.
Yes, GRV’s Animal Welfare compliance team can help you with dealing with Council, and with your application. The Advisory & Support Officers can also assist. Both teams can also provide advice about kennel construction to ensure that your facility will meet the standards outlined in the Code of Practice for the Operation of Greyhound Establishments. You can contact them by calling GRV on (03) 8329-1100.
GRV are also working with the Department of Planning to try to simplify the process and make the rules more consistent across the state.