Warrnambool City Council is reminding dog owners to obey signs to keep their pooches on leashes at Lake Pertobe while it undertakes a rabbit baiting program.
The program, which has been underway at Lake Pertobe since winter last year, uses Pindone oat poisoned rabbit baits across five stations.
A council spokesman said baiting at one of the stations has been suspended after swamphens were seen accessing the station.
"Signs are placed at each bait station to inform the public of the baits being used and contact information for emergencies," he said. "Each bait station is also surrounded by temporary fencing panels."
He warned people to adhere to rules at Lake Pertobe around dogs.
"This is a general reminder dogs are not permitted in Lake Pertobe and please keep your dog on a lead where required to do so," he said.
"Take notice of signage at the bait stations."
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The spokesman said the council was planning to increase the number of bait stations to 10, with four along Pertobe Road and another at Cannon Hill.
He said dogs were either banned or must be on a leash in the areas where the council laid the bait stations.
"Additional safety precautions include the use of specially designed cages which limit the access to the bait by larger animals such as dogs," he said.
He said rabbit burrows across the foreshore, including the Surfside and Shipwreck Bay Holiday parks and Lake Pertobe, were either collapsed or fumigated.
The spokesman said it was hard to determine the rabbit population in Warrnambool, but said it was an issue Australia-wide. The council also conducts a fox baiting program at Lake Pertobe.
An Agriculture Victoria spokesperson said a rabbit monitoring site at Tyrendarra, west of Warrnambool, showed the rabbit population was currently declining. "No exact information is available for Warrnambool using the distribution lines," they said.
The rabbits were introduced to Australia in 1788 arriving on Captain James Cook's First Fleet.
AV said two toxins were registered to control the population; Pindone and 1080, as oats or perishable carrot baits. The lethal 1080 poison can also be used to control foxes, wild dogs and feral or wild pigs.
Rabbits are one of the country's most serious pest animals because they destroyed pasture, crops and plants, caused soil erosion, sedimentation of waterways, competed with native fauna for food and habitat and bred prolifically.
It was declared pest animals under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994.
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