Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Fine for Menacing Dogs Dropped; Ipswich Councillor Says Proposed Changes Still Have Merit but Heavier Penalty Needed to Help Address 'Rush Attacks'

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Fine for Menacing Dogs Dropped; Ipswich Councillor Says Proposed Changes Still Have Merit but Heavier Penalty Needed to Help Address 'Rush Attacks'

Article excerpt

Byline: Brian Bennion brian.bennion@qt.com.au

A CONTROVERSIAL proposal to introduce on-the-spot fines for owners of dogs involved in "rush attacks" has lost its bite.

Brisbane City Council, which put forward the motion at last week's Local Government Association of Queensland Conference, yesterday backed down on adopting its own proposal.

The motion was carried by delegates at the conference and the LGAQ will lobby the State Government for the changes.

However Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk yesterday said he had listened to public opinion on the issue and the council would not proceed with any changes to its local laws even if the State Government legislated to introduce on-the-spot fines.

Ipswich's Health and Community Safety Committee chairman Andrew Antoniolli meanwhile said the idea of an on-the-spot fine had merit but needed to be a heftier penalty to have any effect.

Cr Antoniolli said the penalty proposed equalled the fine imposed for a roaming dog under Ipswich's existing Local Laws.

The motion passed at the Local Government Association of Queensland calls on the State Government to amend animal management and regulation laws to allow for an animal attack infringement for less serious dog attacks.

Although the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008 lists an animal attack as an offence, there are no details on the fine.

Cr Antoniolli said he backed on-the-spot fines to deal with less serious dog attack offences, as opposed to council having to take court action at the expense of ratepayers and the dog owner, but the proposed penalty was not enough.

"Council would see merit in any proposal to increase our options to fine, on-the-spot, any irresponsible owners of roaming aggressive dogs and avoid the need to go to court. Such a proposal would reduce the cost burden upon council but still allow the recipient of the fine to contest the matter before a court," Cr Antoniolli said.

"At present the only punitive option that councils have to act against the owner of aggressive dogs is to commence court action. There is no on-the-spot fine option."

Under the motion prepared by BCC, an on-the-spot fine would be $227 for an aggressive dog not under effective control. …

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