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Dog attack fines given bigger bite

Penalties of up to $25,000 have been proposed for owners of dogs involved in an attack, under a toughening of state laws.

May 14, 2024, updated May 14, 2024
Proposed changes to the Dog and Cat Management Act have opened for public consultation. Photo: Unsplash

Proposed changes to the Dog and Cat Management Act have opened for public consultation. Photo: Unsplash

Under proposed reforms to the Dog and Cat Management Act, the owner of a dog who attacks a person or animal and causes serious injury or death could be liable for a fine of up to $25,000 – up from the current $2500.

If the dog was already the subject of a dangerous dog order, the fine could be increased to $50,000, an increase from $10,000.

If an owner encourages their dog or pet to attack another animal or person, the owner could face four years jail time or $100,000 fine.

Climate, Environment and Water Minister Susan Close said the changes would make sure “that penalties for violent dog attacks are a strong deterrent to ensure owners do everything they can to control their dogs”.

There would also be changes to breeding regulations, with a proposed limit of 50 female animals per breeding program and licensing and assessment systems for breeders, including a criminal background check and fines of up to $10,000 for breeding without a license.

Female dogs would be limited to a maximum of five litters, with mandatory reporting of each litter proposed.

Close said the changes would “ban puppy farms and stop the breeding of animals in cramped and horrible conditions”.

“People love and cherish their pets, and everyone deserves to know that a puppy has come from a responsible breeder who cares for their animals,” she said.

The current requirement on retired racing greyhounds to be muzzled in public would also be removed.

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The reforms would give councils more power in managing dogs, with the ability to issue control orders on animals continually wandering freely, with $2500 penalties available every time a dog under an order is seen free.

The proposed changes are open for public consultation before the Bill is introduced to Parliament. Consultation closes on June 9.

The proposed reforms come in line with potential changes to the Animal Welfare Act, which is also open for consultation.

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