ACT government needs to act to prevent dog attacks in Canberra

ACT government needs to act to prevent dog attacks in Canberra

The inadequacy of the territory's laws around dangerous dogs has been brought to light again this week following two horrific attacks.

First there was the brutal mauling of two dogs in their own backyard in Wanniassa by three dogs which jumped the fence.


Owner Vanessa Giannasca and her partner Nicholas Berlardo arrived home to discover the laundry covered in blood and her dogs cowering inside.

Domestic Animal Services said the three dogs had been picked up the day before the attack after being reported for roaming, but they were returned to the owner with a warning, as is standard. They were picked up again after reports of the attack.


A couple of days earlier a Wright resident was running with his 12-year-old poodle when two pit bulls set upon the dog.

The owner told the Sunday Canberra Times that he is considering legal action against the owner who did not have his dogs on a leash.

Data for the previous financial year shows the number of reported dog attacks are on the increase in the territory and people end up being injured in many of the incidents.

It is bad enough that people's beloved pets end up with traumatic injuries but it becomes an altogether more serious issue if dogs are attacking people.

It is a common statement among dog owners whose pets have been attacked that they fear for the safety of children or other family members. There are provisions under the Domestic Animals Act for charges to be laid against people who do not practice responsible pet ownership.

But this is of little comfort to those whose pets are the victims of negligent owners. The associated vet costs to save the animal are just one part of this.

City services minister Meegan Fitzharris recently said there were more changes to domestic animal laws due in September.

Let's hope they do more to protect victims and help prevent attacks like the ACT continues to witness.

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