Proposed laws keep dog owners accountable

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NEW laws, aimed at protecting domestic animals and their owners from dog attacks, will be proposed in the Assembly this week by Shadow Minister for Urban Services Nicole Lawder. 

A draft of the proposed animal welfare laws, “Domestic Animals (Dangerous Dogs) Legislation Amendment Bill 2018”, will be presented on Wednesday, September 19.

Ms Lawder, who is a dog owner of her own, says the draft will create clear and simple accountability measures after a dog attack.

“Like me, most Canberrans love dogs. I’ve had my dog, Kenny, for 11 years and he’s definitely considered part of the family,” Ms Lawder says.

“Unfortunately, the sad reality is not all dog owners are responsible and not all dogs are safe.

“On average, there is one dog attack in Canberra every two days. We hear that the victims are usually pet owners or a family pet, like a cat or a dog.

“Often, smaller pets struggle to survive a dog attack.

“I have heard from many victims and witnesses to dog attacks who are concerned at how little is done after a dog attack.

“I have seen grief turn to anger when they learn that attacking dogs are let back into the community, and their owners are let off the hook.

“It’s not fair; we need better laws to protect our furry friends and Canberrans. I hope that this first tranche of new animal welfare laws will attract constructive feedback.”

The proposed laws require that:

  • A registrar must investigate complaints of dog attacks that cause significant injury or death of a person or domestic animal;
  • A dog that seriously injures or kills a domestic animal must be impounded during the course of an investigation;
  • Investigations are documented;
  • Complainants, dog owners and the Minister are advised of the outcome of an investigation within 14 days of completing an investigation;
  • If a dog is not destroyed, the registrar must issue a control order and declare a dog dangerous.

Submissions can be made via ACT Legislation Register from Wednesday, September 19, at until October 12.


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