Increased fines, more resources and a rapid-response team to deal with vicious dogs are being urged in the wake of a recent vicious attack on therapy alpacas in Giralang.
Neither the dog - described as a "black staffy" - nor its owner have been located more than a week after the two alpacas were attacked while being led around Giralang oval.
During the attack, one young female alpaca was savaged and then chased by the dog, while the dog's owner filmed it on his mobile phone and failed to intervene. The female alpaca was so badly mauled that it had to be euthanised.
The ACT government's Domestic Animal Services, which is the lead agency for managing dogs attacks and domestic animal welfare, say an investigation is ongoing.
However, it took the directorate a full week before an official statement was obtained from Nils Lantke, who was a key witness to the attack and operates Alapaca Therapy.
The Liberals' Nicole Lawder said there has been an annual increase in dog attacks of 30 per cent over the past five years, and more resources needed to go to the city rangers to help them cope with the problem.
"An increase of 30 per cent a year over the past five years must be seen as a crisis," Ms Lawder said.
"The recent attack on a therapy alpaca which has caused enormous sorrow and feelings of support within our community highlights yet again why we need stronger laws and more resources."
The data quoted by the Liberals was disputed by the Minister for City Services, Chris Steel, who provided figures revealing there were 360 confirmed dog attacks on people and animals reported in the ACT in 2017, and 392 in 2018.
He said this was a rate of less than one per 1000 per people, "which is half the rate of other jurisidictions for attacks on people alone".
He said the government had "strong and robust laws" to deal with dog attacks and would "continue to monitor the effectiveness of our front-line resources".
"City Services has a dedicated dog-attack investigation team," he said.
"Each of the attacks in 2017 and 2018 were investigated and each attack was treated with the utmost seriousness and professionalism by our dedicated staff and I am confident they will thoroughly investigate the Minmosa alpaca incident as well."
He said that eight additional officers had been introduced, which effectively doubled the previous staffing numbers.
Ms Lawder emphasised the need for a prompt response by rangers "to ensure that an investigation is completed in a quick manner" and that the people involved be kept informed throughout the process.
"Often from what I hear by the time a ranger might arrive, an attacking dog has left the area [and] the person who has been frightened or attacked is probably already at home so a more rapid response would be ... appropriate for the general public."
She said that while there had been an increase in resources for Domestic Animal Services, these were office-based resources "rather than rangers who can go out and investigate an attack".
In December 2017, new laws were introduced which targeted owners who acted irresponsibly and made owners more accountable for attacks. However, no restrictions were placed on the ownership of specific dog breeds, as has occurred in other states.
The report commissioned in 2017 to support the new laws urged that dogs which were seized should be released once the risk posed to other people or animals was contained.
This measure is opposed by the Liberals, who say that in severe cases, such as the Giralang attack, the dog involved should not be rehomed.
"That dog [in the Giralang attack] has proved that it is untrustworthy ... that it is a dangerous dog and, sadly, in this instance it may well be appropriate to euthanise it," Ms Lawder said.
"No one likes to euthanise dogs; we are a city of dog lovers. But in some cases, it is the only appropriate measure ... and we don't believe it is humane either to keep dogs for months or years in the pound while a case goes on."
She said that over time Canberrans "have become accustomed to letting our dogs roam off the leash and we have to be more responsible, mindful and considerate of other people and other pets".