11 May 2018

Alarming spate of dog attacks - eight cases of attacks on people and other animals last weekend

| Lachlan Roberts
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Eight cases of dog attacks reported over the weekend in the ACT.

Domestic Animal Services (DAS) rangers responded to eight separate reports of dog attacks that involved dogs attacking people and other animals last weekend (5-6 May).

All eight cases are currently under investigation with four of the cases occurring at ACT dog parks.

Since 1 January to 8 May 2018, the DAS has seized 71 dogs in relation to dog attacks, prompting the Director of City Presentation with Transport Canberra and City Services, Stephen Alegria, to issue a warning to owners to take more responsibility.

“It is every dog owner’s responsibility to ensure their pets are appropriately socialised, behaved, monitored and under effective control at all times,” he said.

“All dogs can be unpredictable and have the capacity to be aggressive and dangerous if they are not managed appropriately.

“Most dog owners do the right thing, however, all owners need to take responsibility,” Mr Alegria said.

In December 2017, the ACT Government introduced new legislation to help protect the community from dangerous dogs and to hold irresponsible dog owners accountable.

The legislation targeted dog owners who act irresponsibly by imposing greater fines and penalties, greater seizure and informant powers, and more effective provisions to reduce illegal breeding and increase compliance with mandatory de-sexing.

After the recent spate of dog attacks over the weekend, the ACT Government is reminding residents with dogs to be responsible pet owners.

“At the ACT’s six dog parks, users are reminded to use the appropriate small or large dog enclosure, to keep their dog under effective control and remove them if they become aggressive or bother other dogs,” Mr Algeria said.

“Dog parks are not the place to take poorly trained or unsocialised dogs.”

DAS investigates all attack and harassment complaints and considers all of the circumstances leading up to and during an incident.

Where a ranger identifies an attack has occurred, the attacking dog is seized whilst an investigation is undertaken. Dogs that are found to be at fault may be released on Control Orders or declared Dangerous with strict conditions imposed.

In more serious circumstances, where there is an unacceptable risk to public safety or other animals, the dog may be euthanised.

Advice and tips on Responsible Pet Ownership and using dog parks can be found at www.tccs.act.gov.au

All dog attack complaints should be reported to DAS via Access Canberra on 13 22 81. If an attack is in progress, the community is urged to contact ACT Policing on Emergency Triple Zero (000).

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