Recommendations by an independent panel of experts on how to manage dog attacks reflect proposed new animal welfare laws that I will present to the Assembly tomorrow, Shadow Minister for Urban Services Nicole Lawder said.
The Independent Review into Management of Dogs in the ACT acknowledges community concern about dog attacks and that the number of dog attacks and hospital presentations are increasing.
The panel acknowledged the important role that pet owners play in the management of dogs.
The report said victims should be informed about the outcomes of an investigation, that data be collected and stored more effectively and that dog rangers be given the power to seize dogs that pose a risk to the public safety.
“While I find it odd that the government would suppress this report for almost half year without reason, I welcome this review and hope the government will take it into consideration when it scrutinises my proposed laws,” Ms Lawder said.
“The laws that I will present tomorrow will create clear accountability measures which address recommendations raised in the review.
“Many victims of dog attacks have complained they aren’t informed about the status of an investigation into a dog attack. The Opposition has previously raised this issue with the government on behalf of constituents, but the government didn’t seem to think it mattered.
“Under my proposed laws, Domestic Animal Services will be required to inform the victim, dog owner and responsible Minister of the outcome of the investigation within 14 days of its completion. The registrar will also be required to collect data and document an investigation.
“Our laws also address the conditions under which a dog is seized; tightening them to require that a dog that seriously injures or kills a domestic animal must be impounded during the course of an investigation.
“The report urged that dogs should not be seized for minor incidents. Our laws make provisions for this by distinguishing between domestic and non-domestic animals. This means that a dog that innocently kills or injures a non-domestic animal will not be captured by the legislation,” Ms Lawder concluded.
Submissions on my proposed legislation open on Wednesday September 19 and close on October 12 via the ACT Legislation Register. Interested Canberrans and stakeholders can also provide feedback at www.haveyoursay.net.au/dog-attacks/