How tough new laws will put the bite on bad dog owners
THE owners of dogs that attack humans will feel the bite of much harsher fines under tough new laws proposed by the state government.
Changes to the Animal Companion Act due later this year will give councils the power to more than double on-the-spot fines for the owners of dogs that attack humans, taking it from $550 up to $1320. And those who break the rules around controlling, selling or buying dangerous dogs will also face much steeper penalties, increasing from $1320 up to $1760.
“Increased on-the-spot fines for dog attacks are part of the government’s efforts to continue to reduce incidents and increase safety for people and animals,” Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton said.
“Increased penalties will help to change behaviours as a high proportion of attacks occur when dogs are not under the control of the owner or another competent person.”
The new regulations come amid a spate of horrific dog attacks this year, which claimed the life of one-year-old Inverell girl Kamillah Jones and badly injured three-year-old Newcastle boy Tom Higgins.
Police have not laid any charges against the Inverell dog’s owner, who is Kamillah’s grandmother. The dog was destroyed soon after the incident.
In Tom’s case, a great dane ripped part of his ear off while he was riding his bike in Mayfield, near Newcastle.
Newcastle City Council destroyed the dog the following day but would not comment on the fine.
As part of the proposed changes, which will go on exhibition from tomorrow, the state government is also looking to increase rehoming rates for homeless cats and dogs.
People can get a 50 per cent discount on pet registration if they get a rehomed animal through council pounds and shelters, the RSPCA or Animal Welfare League NSW.
The proposed change will extend this discount to rescue organisations.