Council reminds locals to make sure their pets are safe and secure

Recent issues with aggressive and/or roaming dogs in the Griffith Local Government Area has highlighted the need to remind pet owners to make sure their four-legged friends are safe and secure.

Director Sustainable Development, Phil Harding, said Council has a zero tolerance towards wandering animals and it is important for owners to ensure pets, especially dogs, are kept under effective control.

“If a dog escapes from its yard or runs off, any damage or harm it causes is the owner’s responsibility,” Mr Harding said.

“Dog owners are liable if their dog attacks a person or another animal. Active measures need to be taken to ensure yards, fences and gates are secure at all times. Neglecting this basic responsibility as an owner could land dogs and owners in trouble as Council and police have had to tend to 22 dog attack investigations since 1 July 2019.

“These attacks vary from less serious to serious incidents involving both people and animals.

“In order to protect the community from aggressive dogs, under the Companion Animals Amendment Act 2013 Council Officers or Police can declare a dog to be ‘dangerous’ or ‘menacing’ if they attack or threaten a person or animal – this highlights the need to ensure your dogs are safely secured within your yard or premises,” he added.

The Companion Animals Amendment Act 2013 introduced the concept of ‘fault’ in relation to dog attack offences, leaving owners open to the Courts applying significantly higher penalties if a dog attack occurs as a result of a ‘reckless act or omissions by the owners or the person in charge of the dog’. A maximum penalty of $22,000 or 5 years imprisonment can be enforced, or if a dog which had been previously declared ‘dangerous’, ‘menacing’ or ‘restricted’ is involved, a maximum penalty of $55,000 or up to 4 years imprisonment could be imposed.

Council would like to remind the community that under the Act, cat and dog owners must take two steps to provide their pet with lifetime protection. These are Permanent Microchip Identification and Lifetime Registration.

Pet owners are also required to notify Council if they change their address or telephone number, if the pet is re-homed or has died, if a dog is declared dangerous, or if the animal has been missing for more than 72 hours.

“Dogs and cats should be permanently identified through microchipping before 12 weeks of age or if you are rehoming or selling the cat or dog,” Mr Harding said.

“Microchipping is typically carried out by a vet, but can also be done by animal welfare organisations and other authorised organisations. It is a very safe and low-cost procedure that inserts a rice-sized microchip containing an identification number in between your pet’s shoulders.

“It’s important your registration and microchipping details are up to date so we can get your pet home to you safe and sound.”

At the time of microchipping, a Permanent Identification/Registration Form must be completed.

“It is the responsibility of pet owners to correctly provide the breed of cat or dog they are registering when completing the Lifetime Registration form- this is an important part of the identification process,” added Mr Harding.

Staff Specialist Oncoplastic Breast and General Surgeon at Griffith Base Hospital, Dr Kate FitzGerald said, “From a healthcare perspective, even what appears to be a simple dog bite can end up requiring extensive treatment and on occasion requires surgery to deal with infected or damaged tissue.”

“This can result in long admissions to hospital and an inability to work in the short or long term with resulting lifelong physical scars and change in function,” Dr Fitzgerald said.

“This compounds the life changing psychological impact a dog bite can have on a person’s life.”

Registration is easy to do and is a one-off, lifetime payment. A lifetime registration fee is payable once only for the lifetime of your cat or dog in NSW.

Reduced registration fees are eligible for de-sexed animals and for pension card holders.

Life Time Registration can be done online at www.petregistry.nsw.gov.au

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