In a move aimed at promoting responsible pet ownership and ensuring the safety and well-being of the community against dog attacks, Queensland has recently tabled significant changes to its dog laws. These changes reflect a commitment to striking a balance between the rights of dog owners and the need to address issues related to dog behaviour and public safety.
This comes in the wake of numerous serious and fatal dog attacks over recent years in Queensland. Only last year an Energex Contractor was mauled to death by a Bandog Bullmastiff and a Rhodesian ridgeback whilst he was trying to perform a routine meter check at a property in Greenbank (South Brisbane).
Under the revised laws, there will be:
- penalties of up to $108,000 or 3 years imprisonment for the owner of a dog that causes death or serious injury to a person;
- a ban on the restricted dog breeds of Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Japanese Tosa, American pit bull terrier or pit bull terrier, the Perro de Presa Canario and Presa Canario;
- the development of a community education program; and
- streamlining of decisions and appeals on the future of seized dangerous animals.
More than 3,650 Queenslanders completed a survey and more than 300 written submissions were received through a 60-day consultation process to assess public support for the reforms.
The changes come after a review of the Animal Management (Cats & Dogs) Act 2008 and recommendations of a task force including the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, local governments, the Local Government Association of Queensland and RSPCA Queensland.
The changes will be supported with a $7.574 million funding package, which will provide more coordinated, consistent and effective government action in response to dog attacks and support dog management initiatives in First Nations communities.
The funding will also include a community education and awareness campaign rolled out over 3 years to build responsible dog ownership, prevent dog attacks, and reduce the risk of harm from dog attacks.
Given how serious the potential consequences are, it is essential for dog owners in Queensland to familiarise themselves with the updated laws and ensure that they comply.