Humane laws to reward responsible dog ownership and make dangerous dog owners more accountable will be debated in the Assembly today, Shadow Minister for Urban Services Nicole Lawder said.
“Dog attacks is an ongoing problem across our City. I continue to hear reports from traumatised pet owners who have witnessed their beloved pets get mauled, and sometimes killed,” Ms Lawder said.
“I have always said that violent dog attacks is both a public safety and an animal welfare issue.
“By overlooking the emotional and physical trauma caused by dog attacks, City Services Minister Chris Steel is turning a blind eye to animal cruelty and human suffering.
“Mr Steel has indicated his government will introduce an annual tax for all dog owners in response to dog attacks. This is an inhumane way to deal with a traumatising issue.
“Most Canberrans are responsible dog owners who love their pets, sometimes like family. Responsible dog owners should be rewarded, not hit with an annual dog tax.
“I hope that since I first introduced these laws, the Labor Party and the Greens have come to view violent dog attacks as a pressing issue requiring urgent action.
“I look forward to bringing the Canberra Liberals’ responsible dog ownership laws forward for debate,” Ms Lawder concluded.
In November 2018, Ms Lawder tabled amendments to the Domestic Animals Act 2000.
The amendments propose to:
Waive the dog registration fee if owners and their dogs successfully complete approved dog training;
Double the dangerous dog license fee from $750 per year to $1,500 per year; and
Remove financial barriers for people who no longer want to own a dangerous dog. Currently, dangerous dog owners have to pay $60.70 to surrender a vicious dog.
New dog laws tabled in the Assembly today will incentivise responsible dog ownership and discourage dangerous dog ownership, Shadow Minister for Urban Services Nicole Lawder said.
Ms Lawder’s new laws reward responsible dog owners by waiving the dog registration fee if owners and their dogs successfully complete approved dog training. The proposed laws discourage dangerous dog ownership by doubling the license fee for a dangerous dog from $750 per year to $1,500 per year.
Ms Lawder is also proposing to remove financial barriers for people who no longer want to own a dangerous dog. Currently, Canberrans have to pay $60.70 to get their dangerous dog off our streets.
“I am very pleased to present new laws today to help keep Canberrans and their pets safe from dangerous dog attacks,” Ms Lawder said.
“We have been listening and consulting with Canberrans across the city who are concerned at the government’s failure to manage dangerous dogs.
“The government’s inaction has led to a surge of dog attacks across the Canberra, resulting in grievous injury to both people and pets.
“City Services Minister Chris Steel has acknowledged the breadth of the problem by admitting the government does not have the capacity to deal with the growing number of dangerous dogs in Canberra. He thinks taxing all dog owners might be the answer.
“Most Canberrans are responsible dog owners who love their pets. We should reward these responsible dog owners, not punish them as Mr Steel would do.
“What I have proposed today are sensible measures designed to keep our furry friends safe, to keep our children safe, and to keep Canberrans safe from dog attacks,” Ms Lawder concluded.
Recycling the graves of departed loved ones would be quite troubling for many Canberrans.
A dignified and respectful approach should be taken when honouring our departed loved ones. This concern should be paramount.
How we treat and honour our dead is one of the oldest cultural traditions that make us human. Burial customs have been honoured for millennia.
Canberrans do need to sensibly address the issue of properly planning spaces for cemeteries and crematoria.
While land within existing city limits might be in short supply, surely there are other options within the ACT and region.
What we need is to a range of options which will satisfy the varied needs of our multicultural society in honouring deceased relatives. Different communities have different needs and these all need to be respected.
Some people will still want to have graves in perpetuity which is what graves are currently understood to be. Other people may be happy with renewable tenure but to date this has not been without its issues elsewhere in Australia where it has been introduced.
Despite increasing rates, taxes, fees and charges, the government is failing to deliver basic local services, Shadow Minister for Urban Services Nicole Lawder said.Despite increasing rates, taxes, fees and charges, the government is failing to deliver basic local services, Shadow Minister for Urban Services Nicole Lawder said.
Today in annual reports, Ms Lawder will question the government’s poor record to deliver reliable local services to the Canberra community.
“Canberrans are paying record amounts for local services, but the government isn’t delivering adequately,” Ms Lawder said.
“The gradual degradation of local government services is creating pressure points across Canberra in regards to health and safety.
“Bins aren’t collected on time, broken street lights take months to fix, potholed roads are largely ignored, and road duplications always seem to be months behind schedule.
“Of course, there is also the ongoing issue of dog attacks which the government refuses to acknowledge.
“The government must explain why Canberrans aren’t getting what they’re paying for,” Ms Lawder said.
New data that shows the number of reported dog attacks in Canberra has increased by 422 per cent demonstrates why we need better laws to manage dangerous dogs, Shadow Minister for Urban Services Nicole Lawder said.
In 2017-18, 485 dog attacks were reported to Domestic Animal Services, according to government figures released this week. Five years ago, there were only 93 reported dog attack incidents in 2013-14.
In the calendar year to September 2, 154 dogs were seized after a dog attack. Of these, 78 were declared dangerous, or released on control orders or euthanised.
"This staggering increase in the number of dog attacks should cause concern for the government," Ms Lawder said.
"It explains why an increasing number of Canberrans are raising concerns about dog attacks.
"Canberrans and their pets continue to suffer as a consequence of the continued lack of effective dog management by the Labor-Greens government.
"Year after year the number of dog attacks increases, demonstrating why we need to deal seriously with the issue of poor dog management.
"We want Canberrans to feel safe when they walk their dogs around their suburb or at the park. They shouldn’t have to be fearful of being attacked.
"We need better laws to ensure dog attacks do not go unaccounted.
"I was pleased to present the first tranche of the Canberra Liberals proposed animal welfare laws to the Assembly this week.
"With our laws, dog rangers would be better placed to respond appropriately to each of these 485 dog attacks.
"I urge the government to review the Canberra Liberals’ proposed animal welfare closely," Ms Lawder concluded.
Interested Canberrans and stakeholders can provide feedback on Ms Lawder’s proposed laws at www.haveyoursay.net.au/dog-attacks/ or on the ACT Legislative Register.