Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 17 March 2010) . . Page.. 974 ..
insufficient homes for them. Fortunately, the RSPCA in the ACT has a policy which is seeing more and more animals adopted out instead of being euthanased. However, if owners do not appropriately manage their pets’ breeding, we often see that unfortunately our community as a whole is left to take up responsibility for the unwanted litters that result.
Responsible pet ownership means ensuring that a preventive healthcare program is in place for your pet. It also means that you ensure that veterinary care is provided when necessary and that you have desexed your pet if you do not have a permit to keep the pet entire.
A dog owner or carer must comply with the requirements of the Domestic Animals Act 2000 by ensuring that the dog is registered by eight weeks of age, is wearing its registration tag and is identified by a microchip. A dog owner is also required to ensure that their pet is desexed by the time it has reached six months of age or a permit has been received in order to keep the dog sexually entire.
A dog owner or carer must also ensure that the animal is confined to the owner’s or carer’s property when not accompanied by the owner or carer. The dog must also be on leash when walking in a public place, except in the designated off-leash areas where dogs must be under effective control at all times. Under no circumstances should dog owners or carers allow their animals to enter a prohibited area or a prohibited place.
A cat owner or carer must comply with the requirement of the Domestic Animals Act 2000 by ensuring that the cat is identified by microchip implant by the age of 12 weeks and desexed by three months of age unless the owner has applied for a permit to keep the cat sexually entire.
An excerpt from the RSPCA ACT policy on effective care of companion animals states that the RSPCA ACT believes that “every companion animal is given a chance at finding a home”. The RSPCA works in a complementary manner with Domestic Animal Services in this regard and I understand that this relationship is continuing to strengthen.
The number of domestic animals received by animal shelters is, in part, due to the fact that people do not understand the level of responsibility that pet ownership entails. Too often I see dogs roaming free when they should be in the proper care of their owner. There was a recent attack in my electorate on a companion animal by a dog that had been allowed to run free. Owners must take responsibility for their domestic animals. In no way should a companion animal threaten the safety or wellbeing of another person or indeed another person’s pet.
At this point, I would like to commend the achievements of Domestic Animal Services. DAS has achieved what must be seen as Australia’s best results in re-homing dogs. Current rehousing rates at the DAS pound are seeing 96 per cent of all dogs re-homed. That is a statistic that we should all be proud of. I find that an astounding rate of re-homing for a shelter that does euthanase animals.