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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 13 May 2021) . . Page.. 1446 ..

it is going and any ways that we can improve it. The Greens are pleased to support this amendment to the legislation.

DR PATERSON (Murrumbidgee) (11.37): I am very pleased to stand here today in support of Minister Steel and the Domestic Animals Legislation Amendment Bill. The ACT government is committed to making this city as liveable and safe as possible for its residents. In 2017 we passed a bill that strengthened our law in relation to dangerous dogs. In 2018 the ACT government commissioned an independent review that looked at the management of dogs in the ACT. The Canberra dog model was released in 2019 and listed the introduction of an annual registration system for dogs as a key action.

The annual dog registration system, along with the rest of the action plans in the model, are based on three principles: responsible dog ownership; animal welfare; and a safer community. By supporting this bill we can support these principles. Annual dog registration is a cornerstone of responsible dog ownership. The introduction of this system keeps us on par with the most progressive cities in Australia and around the world when it comes to best-practice dog registration.

Encouraging responsible dog ownership through the annual registration system carries no additional cost to dog keepers. After the initial one-off registration fee when dogs are registered for the first time, the registration renewals are not accompanied by any further fees. Reminders will be sent to dog keepers 28 and seven days before the dog’s registration lapses, making it easier for people to comply and keep their details current.

The bill is also about animal welfare, which links closely to responsible pet ownership. We are encouraging people to register their dogs on the database, to be responsible owners by updating their pets’ details annually so each dog in the territory is accounted for. When dogs are lost and cannot find their way home, we can reunite them with their keepers easily. This will decrease pressure on Domestic Animal Services and will translate to limiting the numbers of dogs impounded. The bill also expands the range of information on the database and enables targeted services and initiatives based on an up-to-date database of dogs in the ACT.

When people adopt an attitude of responsible pet ownership, the benefits are felt in various tangible ways. Responsible pet ownership leads to spaying and neutering. Data strongly suggests a link between non-desexed dogs and the incidence of dog attacks. This translates to improved community safety, where dogs are cared for and managed in a way where they are unlikely to pose a threat to public safety.

The bill also requires keepers to provide other information requested in writing by the registrar to carry out a lawful function under the act. This provision will facilitate investigations in cases of allegations of irresponsible dog ownership or dog attacks. The bill will promote the three principles of responsible dog ownership, animal welfare and a safer community and will help support our community of dog owners in Canberra to do the right thing. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

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