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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 October 2018) . . Page.. 4131 ..

public safety. Many victims of dog attacks have complained that they are not informed about the status of an investigation into a dog attack. The opposition has previously raised this issue with the government, on behalf of constituents. But the government did not seem to think it mattered. Under this proposed law, domestic animal services will be required to inform the victim, the dog owner and the responsible minister of the outcome of the investigation within 14 days of its completion. The registrar will also be required to collect data and document an investigation.

Our laws also address the conditions under which a dog is seized, tightening them to require that a dog that seriously injures or kills a domestic animal must be impounded during the investigation. Our laws make provision for this by distinguishing between domestic and non-domestic animals. It means that a dog that innocently kills or injures a non-domestic animal will not be captured by the legislation, despite Mr Steel trying to claim otherwise in the media today.

I would like to thank Mr Steel for his contribution to the public debate on our proposed dog management changes. In his comments yesterday he finally provided a clear understanding of what the government’s real intentions are when it comes to dog management. It is nothing to do with public safety or animal welfare. Even worse, it continues to encourage irresponsible dog ownership. His statement exposed this government’s callous underbelly in this policy space. It is about money, like all things with this government. He fears having to build a warehouse to house dogs that are seized. And, of course, that is not true. A well-run administration would not fear the consequence of this bill. It is Mr Steel’s administration that thinks it is okay to keep dogs in the pound for months, not mine.

Mr Steel gave an example of a little dog jumping up on someone or killing a small lizard on a footpath. It would not be seized. I do not know if Mr Steel has a dog, but it would appear from this that if he was a dog owner he would be an irresponsible dog owner. If he had a dog in a public place he should have that dog under control. It should not be possible for his dog to jump on someone or kill something. That is the point. Dog owners need to be responsible.

He says dogs could be euthanised for killing any animal kept on a premise, including a chicken or a mouse. In fact, yes. If your dog comes into my backyard and kills my rabbit or my chickens, you do not have control of that dog. That is the point. You are not a responsible dog owner. That is the point of these laws. A responsible dog owner would not allow their pet, their dog, into someone else’s backyard to kill their pets. You should be held responsible, Mr Steel, if your dog kills my neighbour’s pet. It does not matter if it is a rabbit or a chicken, or their pet cat or their pet dog. That is the point. If you let your dog wander, if you are an irresponsible dog owner, how do you know if it is killing something in someone else’s backyard?

I believe Mr Steel is wrong when he says we are out of step with community values. Sixty-nine per cent of respondents to our survey believe that dangerous dogs who have attacked people should be put down. Of course, Mr Steel is new in his job, whereas we, the Canberra Liberals, have been working in this space for a long time.

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