Residents are being encouraged to exercise responsible pet ownership and ensure their dog is adequately restrained ahead of an annual inspection program starting in November.
From November 1, Sunshine Coast Council officers will begin the annual inspection program for premises where regulated dogs reside to ensure owners are complying with the necessary conditions of owning a regulated dog.
The inspection program prompted council to issue a reminder that pet owners are responsible for the health and welfare of the animals and compliance with all relevant local laws, particularly if a dog has been identified as being aggressive.
Local councils are required to manage regulated dogs within their boundaries under the Queensland Government Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008.
In the Sunshine Coast local government area there are currently 96 regulated dogs, 63 were responsible for an attack on another dog and 33 for an attack on a person.
Service Excellence Portfolio Councillor Winston Johnston said the inspection program helped to ensure that the owners were protecting the community from the risks associated with regulated dogs.
“Keeping a regulated dog comes with serious responsibilities and this program ensures those dog owners are doing the right thing to protect community safety,” Cr Johnston said.
“By undertaking annual audits at premises where regulated dogs live, we can ensure the dogs are being properly contained and other requirements are being met to reduce the likelihood of anyone, or their pet, being injured by the dog in future.”
There are three regulated dog categories in the Act – declared dangerous, declared menacing and restricted.
Owners of regulated dogs must comply with increased safety requirements such as providing and maintaining adequate child-proof fencing, having the dog wear a provided red and yellow collar and yellow tag at all times, displaying signage on gates or entries to their property, paying higher registration fees and having the dog muzzled when in public (dangerous dogs).
Where a breach of the mandatory conditions is identified, officers will determine the appropriate action in accordance with the Act and council’s Compliance and Enforcement Policy 2018.
These actions may include:
- issuing a $934 on-the-spot fine
- issuing a compliance notice outlining the mandatory conditions which require attention
- seizing the dog if an officer deems the dog may be a risk to the community or where the owner cannot control the dog
- undertaking further legal action for failure to comply with conditions, such as prosecution through the Magistrates Court. The maximum penalty for failure to comply with conditions for keeping a regulated dog is $10,008.
Officers will undertake inspections on the anniversary date of the dog declaration.