Page 3289 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 13 November 2007

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will not be supporting the Greens’ amendment on the same issue. We will support the government’s amendments on greyhound muzzling—the questions around that. In addition, I intend to introduce three amendments, all of which were circulated this morning. I will speak to those in some more detail later.

I will now highlight some of the more pertinent proposals that the government has put up and make comments on those where I need to make observations about some minor concerns that the government may wish to regulate on later and that the opposition will monitor. Then we will have those placed on the table.

In terms of the question of registration, in relation to the lifetime registration of dogs, we welcome the proposal that dogs that are already registered will be able to be registered for their lifetime. This will undoubtedly save the owner and the department time and money. It is a sensible proposal.

I would like to talk a bit about microchipping. We support the microchipping of all cats and dogs at the point of sale from approved commercial operations and, of course, the RSPCA. We do not support the retrofitting, for want of a better term, of animals for microchipping—except where an older dog has been identified as being a dangerous dog or a dangerous breed. We would support the government in doing that in that case, but we would not support it carte blanche.

Having said that we will support the microchipping of cats and dogs at point of sale, let me say that we would be disappointed if the cost of microchipping became prohibitive for some pet owners. Currently, the price is fine. I think it is about $45, and the opposition is quite comfortable with that. We would like to see some standards introduced for the procedure of microchipping.

Let me turn to the question of tightening dog seizure and return provisions. These are welcome proposals. The delay of the return of the seized dog to its owner until the premises are shown to be secure enough to keep the dog from escaping again is a necessary amendment which will, hopefully, promote responsible pet ownership. We think that is a good initiative. We are not too sure, though, what sort of standards the government is looking at when it talks about securing premises. I do not know whether the minister wants to elaborate on that, but the amendment bill does not detail benchmarks for what constitutes a secure backyard or secure premises. The opposition has a view about that, and I will come back to that in more detail when I move my second amendment.

I go to the question of seizing dogs. This is a very necessary function of government—that we have the capacity to seize unkept dogs, dogs on the loose. Not only can some of them be a danger to the public, but they are menace to the environment. We in this place are all very much aware of the problem that farmers in the ACT region have with wild dogs running loose and attacking lambs and other livestock. We should do whatever we can here in the ACT to minimise the running free of dogs—dogs which, in some cases, have, unfortunately, been irresponsibly let go by owners who have become bored with them. It is very necessary that we are able to round those dogs up and take care of them. Perhaps they can be placed in a home somewhere, or other actions may need to be taken.

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