Calls for responsible pet owners after eight reported dog attacks last weekend
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Calls for responsible pet owners after eight reported dog attacks last weekend

The government is reminding residents with dogs to be responsible pet owners after eight dog attacks were reported to Domestic Animal Services last weekend.

Transport Canberra and City Services director of city presentation Stephen Alegria said rangers responded to reports of eight separate dog attacks across May 5 and 6.

He said the attacks involved dogs attacking people and other animals, with four of the cases occurring at dog parks.

“It is every dog owner’s responsibility to ensure their pets are appropriately socialised, behaved, monitored and under effective control at all times," Mr Alegria said.

"All dogs can be unpredictable and have the capacity to be aggressive and dangerous if they are not managed appropriately."

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All eight cases are under investigation.

Since the beginning of 2018 to May 8, 71 dogs have been seized in relation to dog attacks.

“At the ACT’s six dog parks, users are reminded to use the appropriate small or large dog enclosure, to keep their dog under effective control and remove them if they become aggressive or bother other dogs," he said.

"Dog parks are not the place to take poorly trained or unsocialised dogs.”

In December 2017, the ACT government introduced new legislation to help protect the community from dangerous dogs and to hold irresponsible dog owners accountable.

The legislation targets dog owners who act irresponsibly by imposing greater fines and penalties, greater seizure and informant powers, and more effective provisions to reduce illegal breeding and increase compliance with mandatory de-sexing.

“Dog attacks can be traumatic and distressing for all involved,” Mr Alegria said.

“Most dog owners do the right thing, however all owners need to take responsibility,” Mr Alegria said.

Last year, The Canberra Times reported the number of dog attacks in Canberra appeared to be on the rise with a fourfold increase in investigations in just five years.

Dogs that attack are seized while an investigation is undertaken. If it is found to be at fault, the dog may be released on control orders or declared dangerous with strict conditions imposed.

In more serious circumstances, where there is an unacceptable risk to public safety or other animals, the dog may be euthanised.

Dog attacks reported in The Canberra Times in 2017:

Advice and tips on Responsible Pet Ownership and using dog parks can be found at www.tccs.act.gov.au

Han Nguyen reports on property for The Canberra Times. She joined the Times in 2017 after working as a breaking news reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald.

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