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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 17 March 2010) . . Page.. 975 ..

To me, this figure shows the dedication of the DAS staff in re-homing their dogs. I would like to recognise the efforts of Mr Scott Horan, Registrar of Domestic Animal Services, and his staff and the volunteers that work tirelessly at the pound to ensure that no euthanasia is undertaken lightly. The same can be said of the RSPCA, of course, with their policy of re-homing all suitable domestic animals that are surrendered or abandoned to the RSPCA. This has reduced to an absolute minimum the number of animals that need to be euthanased.

The ACT government has committed to working with the community and pet owners to ensure continued responsible pet ownership in the ACT. An important source of information, including tips and the legislated responsibilities of pet owners, is available on the Department of Territory and Municipal Services website at

Last year I again took on the responsibility of pet ownership. I went to the RSPCA with my husband and, after much discussion and consideration of the type of dog that would be appropriate for me and my husband, and indeed my entire family, I chose a beautiful 2½-year-old wolfhound-cross who goes by the name of Lola. Mr Hargreaves is now singing Lola, I note for Hansard.

Fortunately for me, for Lola, and for my family, we have robust policies in place to ensure companion animals are only ever euthanased as a last resort after exhaustive efforts have been made to rehouse animals or sometimes, unfortunately, where very serious or intractable temperamental or health issues exist.

I do not take the decision of pet ownership lightly. I fully acknowledge the level of responsibility I and my husband take on when we have a companion animal. Acquiring a pet should never be the result of a spontaneous or unplanned action. It should be the result of careful planning and a clear understanding of all the legal and other responsibilities involved. It is important to be aware of one’s own constraints, one’s lifestyle, and the various vulnerabilities and needs of members of one’s extended family when choosing to bring an animal home—not the least of which is one’s capacity to adequately house the animal and appropriately feed, exercise and groom the animal.

Responsible pet ownership means that owners understand and meet the needs and the habits of their particular pet and provide a lifestyle which satisfies and enriches the pet’s life as well as their own. By ensuring that the pet’s needs are fully taken into consideration by an owner, we will reduce any instances of nuisance behaviour that might be experienced by neighbours should the pets start to exhibit boredom behaviour such as barking during the day.

As an owner, I can honestly say that I am constantly learning more and more each day about responsible pet ownership, and I am sure everybody that owns a pet does experience this. I already knew, but I am sure there are some people that do not understand, that dogs are particularly vulnerable to heat. Dogs do not have sweat glands and they get rid of their heat by panting. Like humans, they also suffer sun damage to their skin, particularly if they have pale skin on the end of their nose or if they have a patch on their fur that may be exposed to the sun.

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