New digital dog database supporting safer pets and communities

The ACT Government will today introduce a bill to strengthen responsible dog ownership by requiring all dog owners to update their details annually, at no additional cost.

Annual dog registration is part of the implementation of a new digital dog database providing up to date information on where dogs live and who owns them.

This will benefit the community both by helping lost dogs be reunited with their families more quickly, and by better targeting education and compliance activity in relation to dangerous dogs.

Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel said the new system would help keep our furry best friends and the broader community safe.

“Annual registration will ensure that we have up to date information on dogs so we can better understand how many are living here in the ACT, and pinpoint where and who owns them,” Minister Steel said.

“The proposed laws will be supported by a new digital dog database, where owners will be required to quickly and easily update their details once a year at no additional cost.

“The main benefit to dog owners in updating their details is that it will enable Domestic Animals Services to return lost dogs back to them as quickly as possible.”

“The new system will address the challenges we currently face with lifetime registration, as owners rarely tell government when they change address or phone number, transfer their dog’s ownership to someone else, or their pet passes away. This can be a particular problem when dog attacks unfortunately happen or there is concern about dangerous dogs.

“It’s important we continue to promote responsible dog ownership and the new digital dog database will provide a platform to educate and regularly communicate with every dog owner on their responsibilities and how to keep their dogs safe and happy.

“At the same time, we recognise that life is busy and Canberra families are juggling many things. That’s why the bill places the onus on the ACT Government to remind dog owners about annual registration requirements which come at no extra cost.”

The legislation requires Domestic Animal Services to send dog owners an annual registration reminder notice in the form of an email, text or letter at least 14 days prior to their dog’s renewal date.

The notice will contain details on how to update information in the digital dog database.

A dog’s annual registration renewal date will be based on the date they were originally registered in the ACT. For example, if a dog was registered in the ACT on 1 September 2015, then the annual renewal date will be 1 September each year.

New ACT Government data collected via the YourSay Community Panel indicates around one in three Canberrans own a dog, with owners generally having a high level of awareness about the current registration requirements.

Out of 568 survey respondents who owned a dog, 92 per cent were aware of the need to register their dog and the same proportion had done so.

The area in Canberra with the highest level of dog ownership is Tuggeranong (48%), followed by Weston/Molonglo (36%), Belconnen (32%), Woden (32%), Inner North (28%), Inner South (26%) and Gungahlin (23%).

The survey also provided valuable information on how dog owners would prefer to receive communication about dog registration. The top three methods are email, SMS and letter. The ACT Government will use these insights to inform the roll-out of annual dog registration.

Once passed, this legislation is intended to come into effect on July 1 2021. There will be transitional arrangements for owners whose annual registration would fall due within the first month of these new requirements taking effect.

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