Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 29 March 2017) . . Page.. 1215 ..
responsible dog owners, those people who have dogs with challenging behaviour who want support can go to different sorts of organisations, including the dog obedience clubs, to get support in how to manage their pet.
I note the presence in the chamber of representatives of Dogs On The Run. They provide not only a dog walking service, but expert advice to families with animals who might present challenging or aggressive behaviour. They work with families about how they can address that issue rather than going into a big stick punishment kind of zone. Responsible dog owners do want to do the right thing, but they want the chance to be able to do that.
Ms Fitzharris’s amendment to the motion moved by Mr Doszpot goes to actually looking at allocating resources for education about the obligations and responsibilities of dog ownership, which I think would have a far better impact on the ability of owners to do the right thing and lessen dog attacks in our community. I support and commend Ms Fitzharris’s amendment to the motion.
MS CODY (Murrumbidgee) (11.59): I rise in support of the amendment put forward by my colleague Minister Fitzharris. Similar to many Canberrans, I have a great love of dogs. My dog Ben and I walk every day, although he is 16 years old now. Like anyone nearing 100, he is a little bit slower than he used to be. But that does not take away the fact that he deserves, like many other dogs in Canberra, to be out and about in the community, on a leash protected by me. His safety and my family’s safety when walking Ben or at the dog park are of paramount importance. This is why I am proud to be part of a government that has today released the animal welfare and management strategy for consultation.
Firstly, I would like to clarify what is meant by a dangerous dog in the ACT. A dangerous dog is a dog declared to be dangerous, usually because of attacking-harassing behaviour, by the domestic animals registrar or by a magistrate; a dog declared dangerous in another state or territory; or a dog that has been trained as a guard dog or that is kept as a guard dog for guarding premises other than residential premises.
The ACT government is committed to promoting responsible pet ownership. It has among the strongest laws in the country in relation to managing dogs and ensuring that owners of attacking dogs are held responsible. Here in Canberra, we have a number of protocols in place to manage dangerous dogs.
To cite a few of those requirements, a special licence is required to keep a dangerous dog. An application for a dangerous dog licence must be lodged in writing by an adult to the registrar. The decision to declare a dangerous dog, grant a special licence, or refuse a special licence are all appealable in the Australian Capital Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal, which has been amended in legislation, as Minister Fitzharris has already mentioned, and the premises at which the dog is to be kept must be able to securely contain the dog.
As we have all stated, all dog harassment and attack matters are heart wrenching for owners, particularly for the owners of the dogs that have been attacked. As such, they