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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 October 2018) . . Page.. 4595 ..


The government does not seem to care about the suffering of pets that have been literally torn apart, often in front of their owners. It is about the suffering of the animal and, once again, the emotional anguish of the owner who has witnessed these terrible attacks.

This government has appeared to look the other way as reported dog attack numbers have skyrocketed. Back in 2014 my colleague Mr Coe supported the Domestic Animals Amendment Bill. He said at the time:

… like all pieces of legislation this bill will need to be enforced properly.

In March 2017 Mr Doszpot brought forward a series of recommendations to improve dog management. In 2017 Mr Coe again took up the campaign on behalf of the Canberra Liberals, and again the Greens-Labor government changed those proposals to what we believe was a watered-down implementation.

Clearly, the proposed changes, as put forward by the government, have not been successful because, once again, we have seen a big increase in dog attacks in the year following those proposals. Today we have a second tranche, a second round of reforms: the exposure draft to the Domestic Animals (Dangerous Dogs) Amendment Bill.

Every day, it seems, or at least every second day—and that is according to some of the government’s own figures—we hear about dog attacks in Canberra. Just recently I quoted a warning from a Facebook page:

Beware at Gordon adventure playground … my 2 small dogs (on leads) have just been attacked by a strong, vicious dog NOT on a lead.

The dog owner went on to discuss the fact that the playground had been full of small children at the time and expressed dismay at what could have happened if it had been a child who was attacked. That is a comment that I hear over and over again.

The person posting in that instance was upset about the attack on their dog and felt it should be a warning to others that we need to encourage responsible dog ownership. There were many comments made on that post, again referencing other attacks that people had been a victim of or had witnessed themselves.

I commend the work of domestic animal services. It is a difficult job. You are dealing with upset people, angry people and injured people. You are dealing with dangerous dogs, injured dogs and upset dogs. It is not an easy job in any regard. It is a job that most of us would not want to do, and they must be supported to do their job to the best of their ability.

Canberrans love their dogs. They want other people to enjoy their dogs as well. But we have to be responsible dog owners, and we have to be respectful of other people, whether they are a pet owner or another member of the public who does not want our dog to come up to them off a leash.


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