Member for the Dubbo electorate Troy Grant has welcomed the NSW Government’s announcement on amendments to the Companion Animals Act which would be introduced to create a new category of “menacing dog’’ to help safeguard the community.

“This is great news for the community ensuring everyone’s safety around menacing dogs,” Mr Grant said.

“We see too many incidents where a person and some cases a young child are attacked and these new laws will help further protect people.”

Local Government Minister Don Page and Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson set up the Companion Animals and Dangerous Dogs Taskforce to examine regulatory options available to reduce the number of serious dog attacks.

In addition to creating a new category of ‘menacing or potentially dangerous dog’ the legislation includes harsher penalties including prison terms for irresponsible owners and encourages owners to de-sex their animals.

This new category will allow councils to be more proactive in dealing with aggressive or menacing dogs that have not yet attached or been classified as a dangerous dog. A dog defined as menacing will have to be muzzled and under the control of an adult when in public.

Mr Page said that under the new rules there would be increased penalty notice amounts and court penalties for failure to register a companion animal and where a dog has been involved in an attack.

“Failure to register a companion animal, no matter where it is kept will increase from $165 to $275. And if the matter goes to court, a fine up to $6600 can be imposed,” Mr Page said.

“Our message is clear – if you own an animal, you need to be a responsible owner and take the proper precautions appropriate for the animal,’’ Ms Hodgkinson added.

“Further to the increased penalties, the NSW Government will expand the existing pet education program to pre-school children and families expecting a child to raise awareness on how to act and be safe around dogs, and importantly prevent attacks.’’

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

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