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ACT Government rolls out new law requiring yearly dog registration

Lachlan Roberts 24 May 2019 87

Mr Steel said the current lifetime registration scheme does not provide an accurate representation of the number of dogs in the ACT. Photos: Supplied.

Canberra dog owners will now have to register their pet on a yearly basis as part of the ACT Government’s new plan to enforce responsible dog ownership and reduce dog attacks.

Minister for City Services Chris Steel released the government’s model for dog management on Friday afternoon (24 May), with an array of new dog laws to help reduce dog attacks in the ACT community.

The Government now requires all dog owners in the ACT to register their pets annually, but the registrations come with no extra cost. Mr Steel said the new law was important to reduce dog attacks, to rehome lost dogs, enforce laws and to keep track of how many dogs there are in the ACT.

Mr Steel said the current lifetime registration scheme does not provide an accurate representation of the number of dogs in the ACT and does not have up-to-date details of dog owners for law enforcement and rehoming lost dogs.

“We now have the strongest dog laws in the country and in order to further reduce the risk of dog attacks in the community, we need to build a community of responsible dog owners,” Mr Steel said.

“We need clear rules that are enforced and incentives to support dog owners to be more responsible.

“Canberra’s model of dog management will lead to a safer community not only for dog owners but also the wider community with a range of reforms that will make the ACT an international leader in dog management.”

Labor member for Ginninderra Tara Cheyne and Minister for City Services Chris Steel.

Mr Steel said the Government will roll out a new education campaign in the coming weeks to educate the community on the new laws.

“We know there are many dog owners that are doing the right thing, but there are others that are putting the community – and other dogs, at risk through their lack of care,” Mr Steel said.

“We are changing the rules to make it clear: if your dog is on a street or a footpath area it must be on a leash, or you will be fined. Only certain ovals and parks will be off-leash and these will be clearly sign-posted.

The new laws will be enforced with the addition of a new six-person compliance team next month that will be highly visible in the community issuing infringements for dog owners doing the wrong thing, with fines ranging from $500 t0 $2,400.

The Government will also roll out dog bag dispensers and bins in key dog walking areas across the city.

Other new key initiatives include opportunities for free microchipping and registration, working with the RSPCA ACT on a discounted desexing program and education programs on bite prevention.

Keep an eye out for these doggy dropping bag dispensers.


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87 Responses to ACT Government rolls out new law requiring yearly dog registration
Party 10:01 am 07 Oct 19

Now have the worst dog laws in the country? I predict that dog attacks will increase because owners won’t socialize their dogs because the laws make it are too dangerous. Enforcement can be arbitrary, and defencing a dog attack case where there was no injury can cost over $30,000. I know of an ACT case where an owner was fined for talking on the phone while walking a giant dog on-leash (s.44 dog is not under the effective control). Now scared to walk the dog because the fine was massive. Some Queanbeyan wardens are horrible and corrupt, so unless you are Queanbeyan Herrensvolk keep your dogs away from them. These laws don’t work, and the increase in badly socialised dogs is proof.

Capital Retro 4:10 pm 30 May 19

The ACT government is now registering everything that moves – except bicycles.

Sharon Levinge Sharon Levinge 1:28 pm 27 May 19

Completely agree Carol Marshall. My ability to enjoy walking a small dog on a lead is ruined by dogs running off lead. And I’m sick to death of people who say THEIR dog is fine and under control. Just about every dog attack I’ve seen is preceded by “don’t worry he won’t hurt anyone”.

    Desley Parker Desley Parker 1:40 pm 27 May 19

    Sharon Levinge so agree!! from previous owner of a small dog 🐶

Grimm 11:21 am 27 May 19

I wouldn’t be doing anything if you already paid for lifetime registration.

Also wouldn’t bother registering dogs in future.

If you believe this “no additional cost” thing will last more than a year or so and suddenly change, you need your head read. Once they think they have info on the majority of dogs, I guarantee there will be an annual fee. So, just don’t register your dogs. Who is going to police it anyway?

Freyja C James Freyja C James 8:42 am 27 May 19

So...are we being refunded the lifetime registration fee we already paid?

    Amanda Maher Amanda Maher 1:00 pm 27 May 19

    The Government now requires all dog owners in the ACT to register their pets annually, but the registrations come with no extra cost.

    John Ainsworth John Ainsworth 4:06 pm 30 May 19

    Canbrerra gotta love it ..........

Carole Ford Carole Ford 7:27 am 27 May 19

How do they propose to 'police' this legislation?

    Amanda Maher Amanda Maher 12:59 pm 27 May 19

    It's in the article:

    The new laws will be enforced with the addition of a new six-person compliance team next month that will be highly visible in the community issuing infringements for dog owners doing the wrong thing, with fines ranging from $500 to $2,400.

Michael Smith Michael Smith 10:55 pm 26 May 19

Next we’ll need registration to leave the house

Susie Deards Susie Deards 8:30 pm 26 May 19

I think yearly registration is ridiculous and I agree now it’s a matter of time until it’s charged every year.

As for being a responsible owner - I can tell you right now the people who aren’t wont bother with this registration, it’s only for the (already responsible) owners.

As for the RSPCA, I dearly love your organisation and the work you do, but the intrusion of checking your yard (if your getting a bigger dog) annoys me. (On that note we do have a large yard and my dog is beloved by our family!)

I know and believe everybody has the right to feel safe, but that should also extend to (as people have said) not approaching an unknown dog without consent, and responsible ownership of all animals (yep cats are my bugbear here).

‘Community safety’ - it feels a bit like a witch hunt if I’m honest.

    Therese Crollick Therese Crollick 10:35 pm 26 May 19

    Susie Deards I don't live in ACT but totally agree with your comments Susie - what about cat owners that let their moggies roam at night upsetting my dog and killing wildlife

Claudine Norton Claudine Norton 8:25 pm 26 May 19

Money money money ...that’s all it is 😞

Mick Johnson Mick Johnson 8:19 pm 26 May 19

give it a year then they will put a tax on registrations

Roo Poeta 7:06 pm 26 May 19

Let us wait and see how much fines they really issue. Officers – Any evening come to Ngunnawal school playground, Giralang, Macgregor – big dogs are always offleash in playgrounds where kids play or the trails where kids ride. There is a disaster waiting to happen, I hope it can averted by some real fines issued.

    Adele Savage 11:30 pm 26 May 19

    Why big dogs? Little dogs can do just as much harm as big dogs.

Ursula Gamal Ursula Gamal 3:09 pm 26 May 19

Give the dogs a yellow vest ?

Ursula Gamal Ursula Gamal 3:05 pm 26 May 19

I understand the onus is on the dog owner to cotrol their dogs but people and children should not try to touch the dog unless the dog has shown willingness. Too many people make that mistake.

Jean-Baptiste Spahr Jean-Baptiste Spahr 3:03 pm 26 May 19

Can we get leads for the of the owners too :)

Nic Gallina Nic Gallina 1:01 pm 26 May 19

Can we have cat registration too! And maybe cats on leads

And can people stop allowing their children to approach dogs on their own. It happens to my dog all the time. I tie her whilst grabbing a coffee. I see kids pat her not only without asking but unsupervised...... and that’ll be my fault too if she reacts.

bj_ACT 12:56 pm 26 May 19

Crackdown with new laws on dogs, ignore new laws on motorcycle gangs.

When is ACT Labor going to focus on the bigger issues of residents, not new laws that will never be consistently enforced.

Darron Marks Darron Marks 11:15 am 26 May 19

No additional cost .... for now but you cannot trust them not to leverage this in the future to fill revenue gaps. Owning a pet should not automatically mean you have to pay tax to own them.

I think enough pets are dumped as it is.

nothappyjan 9:43 am 26 May 19

You can be assured that free annual registration will last exactly 1 year until Andrew Barr’s stared attraction “the tram” requires more funding and they add up how many suckers, I mean dog owners, can now get Andrew Barr’s sole solution to everything, higher taxes….

Carol Marshall Carol Marshall 9:30 am 26 May 19

Can we PLEASE have rangers doing random sweeps of areas where dogs are let off leash illegally? Our hill (Goodwin, Macgregor) is not an off leash area - yet we are plagued with free-running dogs. People say "My dog's friendly". Well our on lead dog isn't happy with dogs leaping on her. Please control your dogs.

    Kay Millican Kay Millican 6:00 pm 26 May 19

    Carol Marshall agree!! Drake brockman drive is another shocker where people think the dirt footpath area is their dogs play area!

    Therese Crollick Therese Crollick 10:42 pm 26 May 19

    Carol Marshall My little dog has been attacked several times by dogs ON LEADS but never by dogs off leads on the beach or in a park, I hate the way people drag their dog down the street on leads, dogs can be taught to walk with you off lead just as well as on lead - it's about the humans the're with.

    Tim Thornley Tim Thornley 11:20 pm 26 May 19

    Therese Crollick if your dog walks happily by your side then put it on a lead. It will do exactly the same.

    Attila Fogarasi Attila Fogarasi 11:53 pm 16 Jul 19

    Tim Thornley The point Therese was making was regarding owners who fail to exercise effective control over their dog, whether on lead or off. You can have an obedience trained dog that is off lead when there are no other dogs or people in the vicinity. Thus the dog can walk freely without creating additional risk. If you see other dogs or people approach, you recall your dog and put the lead back on.

Pixie Longsocks Pixie Longsocks 9:20 am 26 May 19

Revenue raising.....

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