NSW Parliament introduced a Bill to amend the Companion Animals Act 1998 to help manage the behaviour of menacing, dangerous and restricted dogs and the duties and responsibilities of their owners.
These new amendments will create a new category of “menacing dog” to help safeguard the community. Harsher penalties will be added including prison terms for irresponsible owners and new measures to encourage owners to de-sex their animals.
Until now, councils have only been able to classify a dog as dangerous when it has already attacked, repeatedly threatened people or animals, or is used for hunting. A dog defined as menacing will have to be muzzled and under the control of an adult when in public. The failure to register a companion animal (no matter where it is kept) will increase from $165 to $275.
The fines and court penalty charges are being increased significantly. For more details, see media release, 16 October, 2013, by Don Page and Katrina Hodgkinson.
This new legislation is in response to the Companion Animals Taskforce established by the Minister for Local Government and the Minister for Primary Industries to provide advice on key companion animal issues, one of them being the management of dangerous dogs in NSW. See Report to the Minister for Local Government on management of dangerous dogs in NSW, February 2013.
- “Rangers empowered in dangerous dog crackdown” 702 ABC Sydney, 21 August 2013
- “Rangers will be given power to remove ‘menacing dogs’” by Harvey Grennan, SMH, 20 August 2013
More information about dogs and companion animals
This Bill has passed both houses and received assent on 11 November 2013. Most of the Act dealing with the management of dangerous animals will commence on a day to be appointed by proclamation.