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.
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“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.”
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.