South Gippsland farmers have criticised a local council proposal to limit the amount of dogs on farms, labeling it "unworkable" and "ludicrous".
Under the amendments as part of its reform on local laws, the South Gippsland Shire Council has proposed to introduce a cap of four dogs on "farming zone" land, before a permit is needed.
Currently there is no limit for the amount of dogs allowed on rural properties in the council, and farmers say the proposal lacks consideration and detail.
Korumburra beef producer Sharon Kelly, who manages about 370 hectares in the shire, has eight working dogs and said the proposed laws would be detrimental to animal well-being if adopted.
"We have two Kelpies, five New Zealand Huntaways, and one Border Collie and they all have different jobs to do," Mrs Kelly said.
"We would not be able to farm with only four or five working dogs and the critical factor is you need five dogs at any given time for a lot of the jobs.
"When you factor in dogs that are in heat or on training, this proposal is very restrictive and we would not be able to farm."
A council flyer outlining the changes states the proposal "open for comment" and aimed at providing "greater clarity around the keeping of animals".
"We also don't understand what expertise they've used to make this decision, there doesn't seem to be any provision around how big the properties are that you manage or different dogs for different jobs," Mrs Kelly said.
"The council has not released any guidelines as to what they will consider when issuing permits for farms with more than four dogs and we simply cannot do without all of our dogs because of difficult terrain we have in South Gippsland."
Up the road, cattle and sheep grazier Claire Harris, who farms more than 1000 hectares at Buffalo, Dumbalk North, Tarwin and Mardan, has 12 dogs and said they were vital to her operation.
Mrs Harris said the proposal did not include an exemption for working dogs.
"On a hot day you need two teams of four dogs when you're educating cattle so that's eight trained dogs and then you might need a few upcoming pups," she said.
"This is a farming zone, first and foremost, we need to be able to do our jobs and council are listening to people on five acres, stop trying to limit us doing our job."
The new laws would also introduce a cap of five pigs per farm, with additional pigs requiring a council permit.
In a statement, a South Gippsland Shire Council spokeswoman said "the current local law does not have a limit" for dogs allowed on farm zone properties.
"Due to changes to the South Gippsland Planning Scheme which governs the number of domestic animals in the farming zone (this includes working dogs) council is currently reviewing these changes to align with upcoming amendments to the local law," the spokeswoman said.