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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 10 April 2018) . . Page.. 1151 ..


promote responsible pet ownership and to manage the risks associated with dangerous dogs. In November last year we introduced a number of reforms to our domestic animals legislation to provide even stronger protections for public safety and animal welfare. We understand the complexity around dog aggression, and we took a holistic approach to updating our dangerous dogs framework.

We now have a legislative scheme that addresses the many factors that can contribute to a dog’s becoming dangerous, including illegal breeding, not desexing, and unfavourable behaviour resulting from irresponsible dog ownership. In instances where a dog does become dangerous, the registrar has more flexibility and powers in dealing with the situation and a greater emphasis has been placed on public safety.

One of the new tools to deal with dangerous dogs that we introduced last year was control orders. A control order sets out measures that a dog’s keeper must comply with. The order may specify fencing requirements for a dog, it could mandate behavioural training for the keeper and their dog, or any other thing that the registrar considers might be appropriate in the circumstances.

At the moment a control order applies only to a dog and its keeper. With the amendments that are before the Assembly today, control orders will now also be able to be issued to a dog’s carer. A dog’s carer is someone who is over 14 years old and who is in charge of the dog for a period. This means that if a dog’s keeper has, for example, gone on an overseas holiday and the dog is under the care of someone else, a control order can still be issued. This is a really important amendment to make.

If a control order has been issued to a dog’s carer then the carer must also give it to the keeper, and vice versa. This means that if you are walking someone else’s dog and that dog is subject to a control order, the keeper is now legally obliged to pass that information on, and you will also be subject to the terms of the control order because the dog is in your care.

This reflects a number of amendments in the bill whereby new public safety measures are now automatically applied to both keepers and carers. This approach is a common-sense improvement to our current system. It aligns with the public expectation that risk management measures attach to the dog rather than to the keeper. This means that a person in control of a dangerous dog cannot avoid responsibility by saying they are not the keeper of the dog. Regardless of whose care a dog is in at a given time, it must be managed in accordance with directions.

This legislation makes a series of other amendments to improve the operation of our Domestic Animals Act. Mr Assistant Speaker, as you know, the government showed great leadership last year in banning greyhound racing in the ACT, and introduced new requirements for breeding and raising greyhounds in our jurisdiction. The bill today will make sure that the greyhound legislation we pioneered last year is consistent with the requirements for dangerous dogs generally.

In particular, some numbering in the greyhounds legislation will be updated so that it reflects the Domestic Animals Act as amended last year. That makes pretty basic sense. The bill before us today will also ensure that the principles of responsible dog


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