Following a recent spate of dog attack incidents and complaints from the public involving off leash dogs, Tamworth Regional Council wants to remind community members of the importance of having dogs leashed while in public areas.
The Companion Animals Act 1998 states under clause 13 that, ‘A dog that is in a public place must be under the effective control of some competent person by means of an adequate chain, cord or leash that is attached to the dog and that is being held by (or secured to) the person.’
“Dogs off leashes can pose a great risk to all community members and their animals,” Council’s Manager of Compliance, Ross Briggs said.
“No matter how well trained, any dog has the potential to attack, injure or kill an animal or child if not under effective control by their owner.”
There are a number of dog leash free areas in the Tamworth region where community members can allow their dogs to run and play off leash in a controlled environment. A list of these areas are listed on the Council website.
Owners of dogs who are found or reported to be in a public area off leash can be issued an on-the-spot fine of $330 or $1100 if the dog is within 10 metres of play equipment in a public space. However, dogs that are found to have rushed at, bitten, harassed or chased a person or animal can receive an on the spot fine of $1320 and face further enforcement action including orders or criminal prosecution.
“Dogs that aren’t on a leash could also be hit or killed by traffic, which would devastate everyone involved,” said Mr Briggs. “And if an unleashed dog causes a traffic accident, the dog’s owner is liable.”
Rangers from Tamworth Regional Council will be taking a zero-tolerance approach to dogs off leash, to ensure community members in the Tamworth region and their furry friends feel safe to enjoy public areas.