News & Current Affairs

By Aulich


When Dogs Turn Dangerous

Recent attacks from dangerous dogs have resulted in outcry ACT wide and prompted a campaign calling for tighter licensing restrictions.

This campaign was incited after a Pomeranian dog called Buzz was viciously attacked and killed by three dogs whilst walking around the Yerrabi Pond. The Canberra Times reports the three dogs were thoroughly investigated by Domestic Animal Services and returned to their owners without being declared dangerous. The owners of Buzz were left distraught and shocked by this turn of events.

Although the majority of pet owners in the ACT are responsible and careful in their pet ownership, the animals of the minority that aren’t can have a profound effect on community safety.  ACT opposition urban services spokesman Steve Doszpot reported that Canberra hospital emergency departments treat a person who has been attacked by dog every three days.

A case recently before Justice Penfold in the ACT Supreme Court heard of the dramatic attack of six-year-old boy Jack. Jack was attacked by two dogs at a house in Griffith in 2010. He described in court how one dog bit his leg and the other his head and began to pull away from each other. Jack suffered severe injuries, had to undergo 17 major procedures and lost 13 teeth.

As reported by the ABC, Justice Penfold recommended changes to dog licencing. She suggested imposing licence conditions requiring dangerous dogs to be confined to special premises. She also suggested some of the money from licensing dangerous animals should be diverted to an insurance scheme so injured individuals, like Jack, can have access to compensation.

The Domestic Animals Act 2000 (ACT) requires dogs that have harassed or attacked an animal or person to be declared a ‘dangerous dog’ and owners of dangerous dogs must acquire a dangerous dog licence. This licence can include conditions such as confining the premises where the dog is kept and requiring the keeper and the dog to complete an approved course in behavioural or socialisation training for the dog. However, with recent events, the public is seriously questioning whether tighter licensing restrictions are called for.

If a dog attacks what to do? 

If you or your dog are attacked by another dog immediately phone Domestic Animal Services via the Access Canberra Contact Centre on 13 22 81.