There have been over 500 dog attacks in Townsville over the past year, with 126 attacks on people and 277 on other animals.
Owners are responsible for their pet's actions. If your dog attacks or injures another person or animal it may be declared dangerous, and there are serious consequences which include:
- increased registration costs of $400 per year
- strict enforcement for confining your animal
- your dog may be seized and destroyed
- up to $12,190 fine if your dog kills another animal, or
- State legislation is also being considered which could impose up to 10 years imprisonment if your dog kills a person.
It is important that owners take precautions to avoid their dog attacking a person or animal. If you are an owner, you should:
- ensure your dog is appropriately contained in your yard and it cannot escape - 90 percent of dog attacks are committed by wandering dogs
- always supervise children around dogs - particularly if a dog is sleeping, feeding or recovering from injury or illness
- ensure your dog is registered with council - it is against the law to keep unregistered dogs, and
- train your dog.
Dog attacks should be immediately reported to Council by phoning 1300 878 001 - this number should also be used for after hours attacks.
How does council respond to a dog attack?
- A council officer will contact the complainant to confirm the details of the attack and discuss the complaint process.
- The officer will then attend the premises to ensure the offending dog/s are secured and inspect the dog/s enclosure.
- The officer will speak to the dog/s owner if they are present, and ensure the offending dog/s are secured. If the dog/s cannot be secured and pose an immediate threat to public safety the officer has the ability to seize and hold the dog until the owners can be contacted.
- Once the animals are secured the officer will then contact the complainant to commence the investigation process.
- If the owner is not available or chooses not to surrender the dog, the complainant can choose to proceed with a formal complaint and will be required to provide:
- Statement of the incident
- Comprehensive list of any witnesses (name/contact number/address)
- Any photos taken of injuries
- Any medical/veterinary reports and receipts
- A council officer will contact the complainant to conduct a formal interview and the complainant will be requested to attend a Court hearing should the matter escalate to that point.
If council prosecutes a dog owner, the complainant may be required to give evidence during court proceedings.
If a complainant chooses not to make a formal complaint, council will investigate the incident and with the evidence consider whether enforcement against the owner will be taken for any breaches of the relevant legislation.
Dog attacks are legislated under the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008.
Council takes all dog attacks seriously. Dog attacks should be immediately reported to Council by phoning 1300 878 001 - this number should also be used for after hours attacks.