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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 17 March 2010) . . Page.. 976 ..

These are important things that we need to take into consideration. Particularly, one should not leave a dog in a car. Often we see both children and dogs left in cars, with windows open. People just do not understand that that can be lethal for someone or an animal left in a car. In Australia these are very pertinent issues that responsible pet owners should be aware of and take into consideration.

There are a variety of community organisations and peak bodies who work tirelessly to enhance the welfare of domestic animals in the ACT and I do thank them for their hard work in this area.

Unfortunately, last year was not a good year for domestic animals in the ACT. In 2009 there was an escalation in cruel and violent acts against animals in the ACT, as in other jurisdictions in Australia. Some studies have suggested that there may be a link between acts of cruelty perpetrated by an individual against animals and the likelihood of those people subsequently committing violent acts against human beings. What, indeed, does this escalation say for where we are heading as a community? It is very disturbing indeed.

Whilst disturbing, these incidents remain isolated, fortunately. However, it is clear that we must continue to cultivate an understanding that we have a responsibility to those who are effectively at our mercy. Our response to this challenge will say much for our community.

I believe that the welfare of all domestic animals continues to be an important issue for our community and we need to take steps to ensure that pet owners care for their pets responsibly. This is an important step on the path to better welfare outcomes for animals everywhere.

I believe that the Greens have an amendment to this motion. I do not necessarily disagree with anything in their amendment, if it is what I believe it might be. But this motion before us today is about domestic animals and I believe that we need to focus on that particular matter at the moment, notwithstanding that there is obviously other work to be done. I commend this motion to the Assembly.

MR COE (Ginninderra) (12.08): It is a pleasure to stand here today and speak in favour of Ms Porter’s motion on domestic animals and the important role they have in all our lives here in Canberra.

The Canberra Liberals are very much a supporter of families. We support the things that bind families together and that help make living a good family life a little bit more enjoyable and a little bit more connected. Domestic animals—in particular, cats and dogs, but all domestic animals—play a very important role in many Canberra families. They unite us, they give us something to talk about and they give us something to smile about. They also teach us a lot about life. If you are a young child, you grow up with an animal and you see that animal pass away, you learn a lot about life and you value it. And you learn those lessons in ways that otherwise you may find very tricky.

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