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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 21 September 2017) . . Page.. 4054 ..

In closing, I would like to reiterate that the government’s primary focus is to prevent attacks by encouraging and supporting all community members to be responsible pet owners. This cannot be achieved solely through regulation and penalties; it also requires a positive cultural shift across our community. Clearly, government rangers cannot be everywhere, so we all play a part.

I say to all Canberrans: if you see someone who is walking their dog off leash in a public area or a dog that is not safely secured at home, perhaps you could politely remind the owner about their responsibilities. You are not being a busybody; you are helping our community by reducing nuisance and potentially dangerous pet behaviour, and having a positive impact on the lives of all pets in our city. I present the following paper:

Dogs—management in the ACT—Ministerial statement, 21 September 2017.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

MS CODY (Murrumbidgee) (10.22): I would like to thank the minister for bringing forward the animal welfare and management strategy 2017-22 for public comment.

I grew up in Canberra, as I have mentioned before. When I was a kid growing up in the streets of Canberra, my parents used to complain often about me bringing home stray animals: horses, cows, sheep, dogs, cats, echidnas, wombats, lizards, snakes, turtles. The list goes on.

Today it is very different. We have grown immensely, and with that our dog ownership has also grown. I am the proud owner of a beautiful kelpie that we rescued from the pound. My husband still sees that I bring home all the stray animals: last week, I also brought home a golden labrador. So we have two very large dogs. I know how important it is to ensure that those dogs are (a) well cared for and (b) kept in a secure, well fenced and tidy yard, for their own benefit as well as that of the community.

The animal welfare and management strategy reminds all Canberrans of the lessons that we have always known, the lessons of responsible pet ownership. As Minister Fitzharris has already mentioned, the strategy was developed in consultation with a vast range of people. That is really important, because it is people like me and people like experts out there who have a say in how dogs are looked after, and the community as well.

I was pleased recently to hear about the launch of the paws for thought campaign, which helps to identify some responsible pet ownership issues. As I have already mentioned, maintaining a good, secure yard is very important, particularly when we are all at work during the day. But also it is about learning and understanding how your dog reacts to their surroundings.

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