Irresponsible dog owners could face jail time under a raft of tougher measures put forward by the Queensland government to reduce dog attacks.
On Sunday, Agriculture Minister Mark Furner released a discussion paper and urged Queenslanders to have their say on the proposed changes.
These include banning certain breeds, increasing penalties to include jail for serious offending and requiring all dogs to be “effectively controlled” in public.
“It’s time for Queenslanders to have their say on these proposed reforms, and I’m encouraging everyone to provide feedback on the discussion paper,” he said.
“Most Queensland dog owners meet their responsibilities, however, there continues to be some distressing cases of serious dog attacks.
“We expect all animal owners to ensure their pets don’t present a danger to the community.”
The Queensland Government is under fire for taking too long to review dangerous dog laws. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is set to reconvene a task force after mayors across the state labelled the current legislation outdated. The review of laws was meant to be completed in coming months, but the Premier says tougher consequences for owners are needed to deter further attacks.
The discussion paper was commissioned after an increase in serious dog attacks in the state and noted about 100,000 dog bites are reported in Australia each year.
Around 80 per cent of these occur in the home, with children three times more likely that adults to end up in hospital.
Suggested changes include creating a new offence targeting those failing to control their dog resulting in injury or death, with jail time reserved for serious offenders.
Queensland is the only Australian state that does not currently have imprisonment as a penalty for dog attacks.
It’s also proposed ban and remove permit options for breeds including Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Japanese Tosa, pit bull terrier and Presa Canario.
The discussion paper notes this would be “grandfathered” to allow existing dogs to be exempt from the ban.
Also proposed is a statewide requirement for dogs to be effectively controlled in a public place, with on the spot fines enforceable, and clearing up rules around destroying dangerous dogs.
Local Government Association of Queensland chief executive Alison Smith said the changes will help reduce savage attacks in neighbourhoods.
“For too long, irresponsible dog owners have been able to hold the community and councils to ransom. That needs to change,” she said.
“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.”
Queenslanders will have until August 24 to submit feedback on the proposed changes.
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