Change to dog laws ‘required’

FOLLOWING the tragic events, which lead to the death of a woman from a dog attack in Watson early last week, the ACT government says its determined to prevent further dog attacks.

Minister for Transport and City Services Meegan Fitzharris says she is more determined than ever to ensure Canberra has the best possible approach to preventing dog attacks available in the ACT.

“To be able to adequately deal with dangerous dogs and dog attacks, the ACT government will continue its campaign for change to both our legislation and to the way owners handle their animals,” she says. 

“Many people in the community have spoken to me about their experiences, as owners of dogs who have attacked or others who have been attacked. The number, range and diversity of these issues in our community has demonstrated to me that we need change. Legislation needs to change, services and enforcement needs to improve.

“We also need a cultural change in Canberra to ensure all dog owners are keeping their dogs on a leash, in a secured yard, adequately fed, entertained and loved. As I have said consistently, as we develop legislative amendments we will also work with the Opposition on their amendments.

“We will carefully consider the Oppositions’ bill and I anticipate we can reach agreement on many areas.”

Ms Fitzharris says the government will consider a range of amendments that will include:

  • if your dog bites someone or another animal, it should be your responsibility to report the attack to Domestic Animal Services. Under our proposed changes to the legislation, if you fail to report an attack by your dog, you will be penalised
  • increasing penalties for owners who do not comply with dangerous dog laws, including consideration of dog-ownership bans for those who repeatedly fail to comply with conditions
  • creating regulatory powers where; a dangerous dog may be seized and destroyed if it attacks or bites a person or animal without provocation, or its keeper fails to abide by the special licence conditions; the registrar can authorise the euthanasia of a dog deemed too dangerous to release; the registrar can refuse to grant the registration of dog if the owner fails to, or is unable to, demonstrate responsible dog management, care and/or control
  • mandating a legislative timeframe for the owner of a declared dangerous dog to meet their obligations of a dangerous dog licence
  • significantly increase the cost of dangerous dog licences to help cover the cost of increased enforcement
  • requiring the registrar to give written notice of decisions to the complainant and the keeper of the dog. This would include notifying neighbours when dangerous dogs are returned to owners

Ms Fitzharris says the government will also strengthen its understanding of dog ownership across the Territory. 



Coe to ‘toughen up’ vicious dog laws

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