Dangerous-dog kennel to include climate control and safety measures for staff

Dominic Giannini 22 July 2020 18
Dangerous dog

A new dangerous dog kennel will set the Government back $840,000, and construction is set to begin in August. Photo: File.

Twelve new kennels for dangerous dogs at the Domestic Animal Services (DAS) shelter in Symonston will set the ACT Government back almost $840,000, but will provide a safer working environment for staff.

The new kennels will provide inbuilt heating and cooling and have a large outdoor area where the dogs can exercise. The kennel doors will be operated via a pulley system and sliding door to minimise staff interaction with the dogs.

The design also means staff can feed the dog, allow it to exercise and clean its kennel while remaining at a safe distance from the animal, City Services Minister Chris Steel said.

“The ACT Government consulted with appropriate stakeholders during the design process for the dangerous dog kennel project to ensure the design and specifications met animal welfare standards and requirements,” Mr Steel said.

Construction on the kennel is scheduled to begin in August.

Canberra Veterinary Emergency Services

Canberra Veterinary Emergency Services provides vet care to pets 24 hours a day. Director Tracy Hughes says she treats two to three dogs a week that have been injured in dog attacks. Photo: Region Media.

Dog attacks in Canberra are a hot topic for debate after the opposition has repeatedly called for stronger dog attack laws following increasing instances of dog attacks and hospitalisations from attacks.

The Canberra Liberals want the legislation around dog attacks and bites expanded. At the moment, only attacks on humans above a certain severity are reported. The Liberals would like laws expanded to include dog-on-dog attacks.

A year ago, a couple in Flynn were walking their two dogs when they were attacked by two large hunting-type dogs which almost killed their pets. The vet told Shadow Minister for Urban Services Nicole Lawder it was the worst mauling they had seen, but the attacking dogs were still allowed to return home.

“I believe that the problem is that we are letting dangerous dogs – dogs who have already attacked – back into the community,” Ms Lawder said. “Too often, we hear that the dogs involved have previously been reported for other attacks.”

Director of Canberra Veterinary Emergency Services Tracy Hughes says she treats two to three dogs a week that have been injured in dog attacks.

“Dog attacks are not an uncommon thing,” Ms Hughes said.

“As an owner, it is completely traumatic. There are many different reasons for dog attacks. Some dog attacks even happen in their own household when there is jealousy over food.”

Tracy Hughes

Tracy Hughes treats two to three dogs that have been victims of a dog attack a week at the vet. Photo: Region Media.

A dog mauled a therapy alpaca in March last year so badly that she had to be euthanised.

A dog also killed a woman in her late 40s in September 2017 before attacking police officers who tried to administer first aid after arriving on the scene.

Police attempted to provide first aid to the female victim when the dog then attacked them. The dog had been returned to the woman by authorities only months before after it had viciously attacked another person.

In April 2018, An Independent Review into Dog Management in the ACT outlined 34 recommendations to the Government in response to an increase in dog attacks.

The recommendations included the introduction of a separate category of registration for hunting dogs, and coloured collars to make them easily identifiable.

The Government agreed with 22 of the recommendations, agreed in principle for a further six and noted the remaining six.


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18 Responses to Dangerous-dog kennel to include climate control and safety measures for staff
Billy Watson Billy Watson 7:04 pm 25 Jul 20

I feel absolutely heartbroken for these dangerous dogs. Being locked up in a confined, unfamiliar space surrounded by other dogs would be their worst nightmare. The most humane action for any dangerous dog is euthanasia.

Fandangle Nemrod Fandangle Nemrod 6:57 pm 25 Jul 20

'dangerous dogs' also include police and security dogs. The owners have to have a licence for their dog, however, the dogs are not allowed to stay at everyday kennels due to their training.

Don't families who have working dogs deserve a place where their dog can stay in comfort??

Conrado Pengilley Conrado Pengilley 6:40 pm 25 Jul 20

I thought this was something to do with BLM protesters.

Chris Cross Chris Cross 6:16 pm 25 Jul 20

Try not to knee-jerk on reaction to the sensational climate control headline. This is not a building to house dogs indefinitely as a 'life sentence' in climate controlled comfort. There's a process... you can't just kill animals straight away. Once the matter is finalised and a determination is made to the dog's fate, then that's that. This is to maximise the capacity to store such animals. Safer for the handlers, and safer for the community because the animal is no longer left with the irresponsible owner due to it not being able to be placed somewhere. This is a good thing, not wasted money at all. Why should the handlers who have to look after these animals have to work in dangerous, hot/cold conditions? If you read the story (could have been written better to explain the benefits), you'll see its not about giving air conditioning to the dogs... its to allow the workers who look after them work more comfortably and safely.

Aine Dowling Aine Dowling 5:41 pm 25 Jul 20

Instead of targetting the dog, target the irresponsible owner. Those who constantly walk their dog off lead, regardless of the status of the environment, ie on/off lead, those who allow their dog to roam, those who lock their dog in the back yard 24/7 so it's bored witless. Food aggression or any form of resource guarding should be recognised and behavioural training should be applied. So many owners have no idea, or inclination, about socialisation or training which should be mandatory for all dog owners together with their dog.

Once the dog has attacked it's too late.

Tom Allen Tom Allen 5:28 pm 25 Jul 20

Put them to sleep quickly

    Chris Cross Chris Cross 6:17 pm 25 Jul 20

    Not that simple mate. A court order is required and due process must be followed. This facility will make it safer to temporarily hold these dangerous animals until that occurs.

Roberta Bausch Roberta Bausch 5:13 pm 25 Jul 20

You have to be kidding. More wasted money. If the dogs are dangerous why are they not put to sleep. Are they to be kept there forever, I don’t understand the purpose but maybe someone can explain.

    David Murn David Murn 5:17 pm 25 Jul 20

    I wonder the same thing about maximum security prisons.

    If a dog attacks someone because it has been mis-treated by it's owner, why isn't it treated the same way as a person who attacks someone because they had a tough unbringing as a child?

    Guy Noble Guy Noble 5:37 pm 25 Jul 20

    David Murn A good handler will already have formed somewhat of a pack,,, taking a few lead dogs with the handler will prevent most injuries to him/her...... as you and i know the only wasted money goes to humans with no idea

    Lin Van Oevelen Lin Van Oevelen 5:46 pm 25 Jul 20

    Roberta Bausch The article doesn't explain but my guess is that it may be for when a court case in relation to the dog is expected?

    Chris Cross Chris Cross 6:15 pm 25 Jul 20

    Lin Van Oevelen I think that's it.

ssek ssek 10:08 am 24 Jul 20

I have large hunting dogs. If they were aggressive toward people or other dogs without provocation, I’d put them down without having to be forced to. Not keeping a 4 legged court case.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:25 pm 27 Jul 20

    Don’t wait, because hunting dogs have a thing called instinct and when that kicks in it’s too late.

    Why did you choose “large hunting dogs”?

Mike of Canberra Mike of Canberra 2:47 pm 23 Jul 20

Frankly, dangerous dogs are a significant and long-standing problem for Canberrans. All too often, the government has shown little interest in taking strong measures to address this situation. Now that they are finally doing something, they’ve characteristically gone for the lazy, expedient solution of providing luxury accommodation for such dogs. I’m sure Canberra ratepayers, many of whom own pets that have been subject to vicious assaults from dangerous dogs, will be delighted to hear about decisive action to address this situation – not! Remember, collectively we have the chance in October to give this lot a period of reflection on the opposition benches. Don’t miss it.

Paul Murray Paul Murray 10:18 am 23 Jul 20

One possibility is to hold dog owners strictly liable for what their pets do.

bikhet bikhet 4:59 pm 22 Jul 20

What a waste of money! Euthanise them.

    harcm harcm 6:18 pm 22 Jul 20

    I agree bikhet. What a waste of money. The Government doesn’t like to spend this sort of money on people. These dogs have already been declared dangerous – they need to be put down. The pets they maul have to be euthanised, but they get kept alive. It makes no sense.

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