New laws and funding back community call for tougher dog attack penalties

Published Thursday, 16 November, 2023 at 05:02 PM

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities
The Honourable Mark Furner

  • More than $7 million to help make communities safer from dangerous dogs.
  • Tough new jail terms for irresponsible owners of dangerous dogs.
  • Reforms follow feedback from thousands of Queenslanders.
  • New laws to be introduced to Parliament this year.

Tougher penalties for irresponsible dog owners have been introduced to Parliament after thousands of Queenslanders backed proposed changes to dangerous dog laws.

Penalties include up to $108,000 fines or up to three years’ jail for the owner of a dog that causes the death or seriously injures a person.

The changes come after a review of the Animal Management (Cats & Dogs) Act 2008 and recommendations of a taskforce including the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries participating local governments, the Local Government Association of Queensland and RSPCA Queensland.

More than 3650 Queenslanders completed a survey and more than 300 written submissions were received through a 60-day consultation process to assess public support for the reforms.

Under the revised laws, there will be:

  • Increased penalties for the most serious dog attack offences, including imprisonment as an option;
  • A ban on the restricted dog breeds of Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Japanese Tosa, American pit bull terrier or pit bull terrier, and the Perro de Presa Canario or Presa Canario;
  • Development of a community education program; and
  • Streamlining decisions and appeals on the future of seized dangerous animals.

The changes will be supported with a $7.574 million funding package, which will provide more coordinated, consistent and effective government action in response to dog attacks, and support dog management initiatives in First Nations communities. 

The funding will also include a community education and awareness campaign rolled out over three years to build responsible dog ownership, prevent dog attacks, and reduce the risk of harm from dog attacks.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner:

“Community safety is at the heart of these laws and continues to be the number one priority of the Queensland Government,” Mr Furner said.

“Queenslanders told us that they wanted urgent action to toughen our dangerous dog laws and the Queensland Government is supporting the community 100 per cent.

“The Animal Management Taskforce recommended meaningful changes to the Act and I thank the participating local government representatives, the Local Government Association of Queensland and RSPCA Queensland for their vital contributions to these new laws.

“Importantly, almost 4000 Queenslanders have had their say through the consultation process and I am grateful that these law reforms have such widespread support.

“There is strong support for individual responsibility when it comes to dangerous dogs and under our updated laws owners will continue to bear that responsibility.

“There needs to be a strong deterrent in place to prevent irresponsible behaviour that can put the community at risk.

“We’ve also committed to a community education and awareness campaign, delivered in partnership with stakeholders across a range of platforms, to raise awareness of dog safety, particularly for parents and caregivers with young children.”