Dog Attacks

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I thank Ms Lawder for bringing this motion before the Assembly today. I rise to speak in full support of it.

I speak today as a dog owner. I bring that fact up because sometimes those opposite try to spin the Liberals’ ongoing concerns over dog attacks in this territory as some kind of dislike for dogs or for the people who own them. Nothing could be further from the truth. For many of us, dogs are treasured parts of our families.

But the facts speak for themselves: the number of dog attacks in this city keeps going up and up. I can assure this Assembly that the Liberals and the media outlets are not the only ones noticing. I spend as much time as I can meeting and speaking with the good people in my electorate of Ginninderra. The absolute failure of this government to adequately and sensibly respond to the threat of dangerous dogs has become one of the top issues raised with me.

Dog owners are concerned. The most common victim in a dog attack is another dog. Even when the victim doesn’t die, it is often left physically and emotionally damaged for the rest of its life. This of course creates grief for the family who loves the dog. Those who own other animals are also concerned. As we learnt from the tragic events of last week, all kinds of animals can fall victim to attacks by dangerous dogs, even animals much larger than the one attacking them. If an alpaca can be fatally wounded by a dangerous dog, cats and bunnies and other more common pets have no hope.

And people who have never owned pets are concerned. Constituents who have been attacked or threatened by dangerous dogs have shared with me their stories and their friends’ and neighbours’ stories, and begged that more be done. Madam Speaker, the statistics make it clear that more needs to be done. I understand that this government has grown accustomed to telling Canberrans that it is on top of a problem even when the data clearly show that the problem is rapidly worsening, but it’s not working anymore. People can see for themselves what’s really going on.

The ACT Government needs to provide the resources needed to ensure that the current dog laws are effectively enforced, and it needs to provide the resources needed to ensure that dog attacks are investigated quickly and treated under the law with the urgency and seriousness that the community expects. I commend this motion to the Assembly.

Thank you.

#Motion #Community #Family

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