Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 14 February 2017) . . Page.. 350 ..
Just briefly addressing the proposed changes and amendments to the Domestic Animals Act 2000 and the Domestic Animals Regulation 2001, clause 4 of the bill clarifies the role of the registrar’s ability to issue a dangerous dog licence and other registrar matters. While this is an improvement, it highlights what is currently a complex arrangement. The government is proposing a somewhat bandaid approach to fixing the legislation where a complete revision of the section is probably warranted. We will be supporting this amendment.
Clause 5 of the bill enables the person who has been attacked, or an owner of an animal that has been attacked, to review decisions of the registrar. This is a major improvement and returns the balance of treatment of two parties under law. Over the years the inadequacy of the current legislation has been a major concern to the victims of dog attacks. There has been a justifiable perception that the rights of the dog owners have taken precedence over those of the victims. We will support this amendment.
Generally on the dangerous dog issue, I would like to commend the minister for finally addressing this matter. On the other hand, I do not believe that the minister’s introduction to this legislation amendment, as a bill that makes minor and technical amendments, recognises the many issues that victims have had to face to get a right of appeal. It has been a long-required amendment that has caused much pain, emotional and financial impost on many in our community. They would not describe these as minor issues.
There is more to do. The Canberra Liberals are talking to the community. We have had dozens of concerned dog owners and victims of dog attacks contact us since this issue has had a heightened profile in the media over recent months. This is a matter that does need more work. We will be supporting clauses 4 and 5 of this bill.
MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra) (11.15): I am pleased to speak today in support of the Transport Canberra and City Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2016. This bill will make technical amendments to our dangerous dog licensing regime. Canberra is a wonderful city to keep pets. Anyone who has seen me out and about with my dogs knows that I love taking advantage of our amazing outdoor spaces to keep my whippet and Italian greyhound happy and healthy.
However, dog ownership also comes with the responsibility of properly managing our pets for the safety and amenity of our community and other animals. One aspect of this is the management of dangerous dogs. Some dogs are automatically considered to be dangerous dogs under this regime, such as those dogs that have been trained as guard dogs or dogs that have been determined to be dangerous dogs in other jurisdictions. In other cases, the registrar has discretion to decide whether a dog that has attacked or harassed a person or animal is a dangerous dog. A person must not keep a dangerous dog without a licence.
The Domestic Animals Act prescribes the criteria that the registrar must consider before making a decision to issue a dangerous dog licence. Additional considerations apply if the owner is applying for a licence after their dog has been seized for a