Queensland Law Society

Dangerous dog laws lack preventative action

Date 24 Nov 2011
Contact Natalie Graeff, Manager Corporate Communication
Phone (07) 3842 5868
Mobile 0488 433 884
Fax 07 3221 9329
Email n.graeff@qls.com.au

Queensland Law Society said today that proposed amendments to dangerous dog laws focus disproportionately on punishment, rather than prevention.

Society president Bruce Doyle said that a suitable regime already existed in the Criminal Code and the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008 and that the focus should be on preventative action and education for dog owners.

“More lives would be saved by teaching owners how to manage their dog’s behaviour, rather than enforcing extreme criminal penalties after an attack,” Mr Doyle said.

“Without education, the new law will only give an appearance that something is being done, without practical steps.

“The Society is concerned about the fairness of the proposed legislation.

“The definition of dangerous dogs in the proposed amendments is too broad – the owner of a dog should have a reason to believe that the dog is dangerous before the penalties in the proposed law can be applied.

“We should follow the example of Victorian laws which focus on dogs deemed dangerous, menacing or of a restricted breed as they are most likely to cause problems.

“This way, owners of these dogs know they have a responsibility to protect the public from potential attacks.

“The implication of this general definition is that, even if you were not aware of the aggressive nature of your dog, you will be held criminally responsible for attacks.”

The Society also proposed a statewide system of registration of dangerous dogs in place of the current council-based system to remove inconsistencies around the state.