Page 4127 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 24 October 2018

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Wednesday, 24 October 2018

MADAM SPEAKER (Ms J Burch) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, 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 2018

Ms Lawder, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (10.01): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I rise today to speak to the Domestic Animals (Dangerous Dogs) Legislation Amendment Bill 2018. At its core, this bill is designed to address issues of responsible dog ownership. It is an attempt to address our crisis in dog management in the ACT, and I am disappointed to have to stand in this place yet again and call out the Labor-Greens government for their complete abrogation of their basic duty to keep Canberrans safe. They just do not seem to care about injuries to Canberrans. But the Canberra Liberals do care. It is a core responsibility of government to keep their citizens safe; yet this Labor-Greens government looks the other way as the number of attacks by dogs increases year on year.

A month ago I asked Minister Steel to provide dog attack figures for last year. In response, Minister Steel was not quite sure because, inexplicably, the collection method of data had changed, but there were at least a staggering 133 dog attacks on people to the end of June—on Canberrans. That is two attacks every three days. The number of dog attacks more generally, which may involve other animals or pets, has gone through the roof. There were 485 reported last year, an increase of 25 per cent from the year before. And that is well up from 93 attacks five years ago. So there has been on average a 30 per cent increase in dog attacks year on year over the past five years.

This massive increase in dog attacks is a major public health and safety crisis—nearly 500 attacks by dogs in a year. And it is not just a human health and safety issue. In the past five years, hundreds of innocent domestic pets have been killed and mutilated. It has been a major animal welfare failing of this government, and it is every day.

Just last weekend someone posted on a Facebook page:

“BEWARE AT GORDON ADVENTURE PLAYGROUND” my two small dogs (on leads) have just been attacked by a strong, vicious dog NOT on lead.

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