The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) has welcomed the State Government’s launch of a public consultation paper on dog attack law reforms, which seeks to better protect the community from irresponsible dog-owners.
LGAQ CEO, Alison Smith, said the community deserved to be safe from dangerous dogs and that councils need the tools to tackle irresponsible owners.
“For years Queensland councils have been calling for tougher laws on dangerous dogs and irresponsible owners,” Ms Smith said.
“We thank the Queensland Government for working with councils on these proposed changes that are now out for consultation.
“This is an opportunity for the community to say enough is enough – that Queensland needs to take tougher actions on irresponsible dog owners, and for there to be swift processes in place after a savage dog attack has happened.
“Queensland councils want safe communities. Councils want dangerous dog breeds to be banned, tougher restrictions on irresponsible owners, and changes that will help reduce savage attacks in our neighbourhoods.”
Ms Smith said a key solution from councils in the consultation paper is to fast-track decisions and appeals on the future of seized dangerous animals.
“Ratepayers would be alarmed to know that Queensland councils are being forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees because irresponsible owners are using the courts to drag out the fate of these dangerous animals after their dog has been impounded and a destruction order made,” Ms Smith said.
“For too long, irresponsible dog owners have been able to hold the community and councils to ransom. That needs to change.”
Councils have called for increased penalties for irresponsible dog owners, including a sliding scale of penalties depending on the severity of the attack, which includes jail time for anyone responsible for dogs that kill or cause grievous bodily harm to a person, and on-the-spot fines for off-leash dogs.
Councils have also put forward reform including the fast-tracking of decisions and appeals on the future of seized dangerous animals, a centralised database for microchipping details, additional enforcement provisions for unregistered and unmicrochipped animals and repeat offenders, and improved powers for council officers.
The LGAQ said it will be making a formal submission to the State Government and that it looks forward to the Premier’s commitment to have new legislation introduced before the end of 2023.
“I want to thank the hardworking council officers who will continue their work with the state on the animal management taskforce to progress further reforms,” Ms Smith said.
“It’s vital this work progresses quickly so that state and local governments together can deliver improved safety outcomes for communities across Queensland.”