Lock up your guinea pigs or face $600 fine
LATE in the afternoon a small Boonah community hear the familiar squeak of a family of more than 20 guinea pigs as they chow down on their dinner of peas and corn.
The guinea pig pack is a community icon on Bartholomew Avenue, having called Mark Eather's front yard and footpath their home for close to two years.
Despite their popularity, Scenic Rim Regional Council has ordered Mr Eather to secure the guinea pigs in a pen or pay a $600 fine for non-compliance.
"They're lawn mowers but there are a couple that are more pets than lawn mowers but it's nice to sit down late in the afternoon and throw some feed out to them. They'll come over and have some feed," Mr Eather said.
"If there is an issue with a few small guinea pigs eating the grass on our lawn that we maintain for council, why hasn't anybody complained about the vehicles parked on the grass.
"I can't see why or how they could classify a small guinea pig as such as a goat or a sheep."
Neighbours are known to save their scraps to feed them and deliver clumps of fresh grass to the furry residents.
Next door, David Pollard's gardens are free of weeds and compost bins empty thanks to his furry neighbours.
"I would have to weed the garden if it wasn't for them," he said.
Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen said a member of the community raised the guinea pig alarm.
"On this occasion, the council investigated a complaint regarding guinea pigs roaming outside the owners' property boundary," Mr Christensen said.
"As a result, a notice was issued requesting the animals be appropriately housed within the property.
"Concern had been expressed that these small animals were providing a lure for larger animals, both feral and domestic.
"The council's local laws require that all animals, regardless of species, be kept in an enclosure suitable to contain them at all times, and not be allowed to roam on public lands.
"This is for the amenity and safety of the wider community."
He said the law applied to animals of any shape, size or squeak.
"The council encourages pet ownership and, as a principally rural area, we appreciate and understand that people's love of animals comes in all shapes and sizes," Mr Christensen said.
"It is important that personal pet ownership is respectfully managed and balanced within the constraints of community standards."