Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (26 September) . . Page.. 3284 ..
Mr Humphries: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. This bill is a bill which apparently amends the Civil Law (Wrongs) Act 2002. Of course, there is no Civil Law (Wrongs) Act 2002 at this stage. I would ask you whether it is within standing orders for a bill to amend an act which does not exist and whether the amendments which are contained in this bill would be more appropriately moved as amendments to the bill which is before the house this afternoon, namely, the Civil Law (Wrongs) Bill 2002.
MR SPEAKER: I will take some advice on that, Mr Humphries. Meanwhile, it may be appropriate to move that the debate be adjourned. I will report back to the Assembly in due course.
Debate (on motion by Mr Stefaniak ) adjourned to the next sitting.
Domestic Animals (Amendment) Bill 2002
Mr Stanhope, on behalf of Mr Wood, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.
Title read by Clerk.
MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for Women) (11.18): I move:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
Mr Speaker, today I bring to the Assembly a bill to address a series of minor issues with the Domestic Animals Act 2000. That act has been in operation for over a year and a number of matters have arisen that require minor amendments to the act. The government recognises that there is a balance between allowing pet owners to have their dogs in the urban environment and respecting the rights and safety of others. Experience in using the act has highlighted some minor issues for finetuning to make it easier and fairer for the community, pet owners and regulators.
The details of these changes appear in the bill and the explanatory memorandum. Very briefly, the bill makes it clear that dogs should wear their registration tags whenever they are away from home. It introduces a provision that makes it an offence for a dog to be unrestrained on private premises without the occupier's consent, making this similar to the provisions relating to restraining dogs in public. This allows action to be taken when unrestrained dogs roam onto private property.
The bill alters the attacking and harassing dog offence to operate as intended and make both attacking and harassing separate offences whether or not the dog is with a carer. The provisions relating to the return of dogs after seizure by an inspector have been restated, making them clearer. The bill makes it possible for a nuisance notice to be issued to the occupier of premises where the owner of the nuisance animal cannot be contacted.
The bill empowers inspectors to seize a nuisance animal after its owner has been charged with a nuisance offence. This removes the requirement for a warrant. However, the decision to seize an animal can only be issued if there is sufficient evidence to lay the