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Council reminds residents to ensure effective control of dogs

Shoalhaven City Council is reminding local residents to ensure the effective control of dogs following two serious attacks on children over the past week.

A five year old girl required surgery to her lip after being bitten by a dog left unattended and tied up outside a shop in Sussex Inlet while a three year old girl also required surgery following an attack undertaken by a dog staying on her property.

The dog was not the family pet.

Council Rangers attended both incidents immediately and are currently working to locate the dogs and owners.

Director of Development and Planning, Tim Fletcher said dog owners faced heavy fines and potential imprisonment if their pet is involved in an attack.

“Council is certainly reminding local residents of the need for dogs to be under effective control at all times,” said Mr Fletcher.

“Hefty fines apply for roaming dogs that are not on leads, under effective control or left unattended while tied up in a public place.

“Dog owners also have a very clear responsibility to ensure their pet does not escape from a yard, threaten or attack anyone.”

“It is important to keep in mind the responsibility that comes with pet ownership before committing to the purchase of a pet.”

Mr Fletcher said it was also important that local residents remained cautious when dealing with an unknown dog.

The Companion Animals Amendment Act 2013 introduced the concept of ‘fault’ in relation to dog attack offences.

As a result, the court may apply significantly higher penalties to the owner of (or other person in charge of) a dog involved in an attack that occurs as a result of a ‘reckless act or omission by the owner or the other person in charge of the dog’.

Penalties may include -

a) A maximum penalty of $22,000 or two years imprisonment (previously $5,500).
b) A maximum penalty of $55,000 or four years imprisonment in the case of a declared dangerous, menacing or restricted dog (previously $32,000).

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