Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 November 2017) . . Page.. 4761 ..
Wednesday, 1 November 2017
MADAM SPEAKER (Ms Burch) took the chair at 10 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.
Domestic Animals (Dangerous Dogs) Legislation Amendment Bill 2017
Mr Coe, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.
Title read by Clerk.
MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (10.01): I move:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
I rise today to table a critical piece of legislation that is necessary due to the Labor-Greens government’s inaction on dangerous dogs. One of the core functions of any government is public safety. The Labor-Greens government has failed on that count when it comes to dogs in our community. Despite its rhetoric and despite the minister promising that she would table legislation by the end of September, the government has continued to neglect and delay dealing with this serious issue. The government has allowed members of the public to be put at risk by dangerous dogs and, tragically, it has taken a fatality for action to be forthcoming.
My colleague Steve Doszpot has been extremely vocal in calling on the government to improve the Domestic Animals Act and he has worked closely with the victims of dog attacks to help shape this bill before us today. Some of them are present in the chamber today to show their support.
It is important to put this bill in perspective. There were 389 officially reported serious dog attacks in Canberra last year. This means that there is a serious attack reported in Canberra every day. This means that there is a serious attack reported time and time and time again in the ACT. There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that there are many more incidents that go unreported. In 2016, the latest year for which we have data, there were 155 presentations in hospital emergency departments due to dog attacks. In 2012 there were 100. In the same period there have been only two prosecutions for dangerous dogs. The legislation is obviously not working to protect Canberrans.
Unfortunately, the issues I raise today are not new. In 2010 Dr Paul Crowhurst of Hawker called for action after a dog attacked his son’s throat and mauled his two small dogs. Days after the attack, the dogs were still roaming the streets. In 2014 Renee Dean had her two small dogs mauled to death in her locked backyard. She started a petition calling for an inquiry. Again there was no action. In 2015 dogs broke down a locked front screen door to a family home in Dunlop, killed the family’s pet dogs and injured the home owner.