Page 1203 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 29 March 2017

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that the costs incurred by members of the public as a consequence of a dog attack are given some protection, and dog owners need to understand their legal obligations.

I have been frequently told that many people do not know the basics of responsible dog ownership, such as registration and the use of leads in public. The government needs to urgently look at educating dog owners about the danger that their dogs could pose to the wider community. It is also imperative that the government urgently allocates resources to educate people on their obligations and responsibilities as dog owners.

Most dog owners are conscientious and responsible about their dog ownership and would, I am sure, support stronger action to keep the community safe. The government has obviously lost control on this issue, and something needs to be done before more innocent pets are injured or killed; or, indeed, before a human tragedy occurs from these dog attacks.

The government’s neglect of the issue of dangerous dogs has led to pain and anguish within our community. I have been contacted by many constituents, and the following extracts from some of the emails and phone messages I have received highlight the human and animal pain and suffering that has been caused. This was from Graham of Dunlop on 12 January 2017:

I wanted you to know that yesterday there was a vicious dog attack in Dunlop. A big dog killed a small dog and the owner of the small dog had his arm severely mauled and was in hospital yesterday for emergency surgery.

My children have also been terrified by aggressive dogs on a number of occasions when walking past backyards on the way to and from school. Our youngest child is scared to walk to school by himself due to several incidents, and as such we have had to move schools for him to be able to walk home with his older brothers.

In a letter to the Canberra Times on 27 March 2017 and copied to me, Bob of Wanniassa said:

I’m actually a federal Labor staffer but I don’t see this as a partisan or a federal issue.

Your editorial—

referring to the Canberra Times editorial—

“Action Over Dog Attacks Needed” (Canberra Times 26 March 2017) asks what it will take before lawmakers and pet owners act to stop vicious dog attacks? Answer: a dead child or a severely beaten dog owner.

Years back, our small dog survived a Rottweiler attack. Fortunately, the attack dog only grabbed our dog’s neck. The black and tan had to be prised off. From the Rottweiler owner: no apology. And having been told his dog should be on a lead, he produced an unused leash, waved it airily at my daughter and me, and then continued on his merry way.

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