24 May 2019

ACT Government rolls out new law requiring yearly dog registration

| Lachlan Roberts
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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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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 Retro4:10 pm 30 May 19

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

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?

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 Savage11:30 pm 26 May 19

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

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.

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