Media Release - 29 June 2012
Answers to questions from the Greens in NSW Parliament have revealed a large gap between the number of reported dog attacks and the number of dogs declared dangerous, requiring serious action from Local Government Minister Don Page according to Greens NSW MP David Shoebridge.
"The huge difference between the number of reported dog attacks and the number of dogs declared dangerous requires a substantive response from the Minister," Mr Shoebridge said.
"There have been over 15,000 dog attacks reported in NSW since the beginning of 2009, yet in the same period only around 1,000 dogs have been declared dangerous.
The figures show that local authorities are failing to act to protect people from dangerous dogs.
"In the 2010/11 and 2011/12 financial years there were 10,254 reported dog attacked, yet from 2010 to date there have been only 754 dogs declared dangerous.
"This level of inaction is placing public safety at risk.
"The Minister has told local councils that they must take dangerous dogs seriously, yet he himself has done nothing on the issue.
"In Mirabooka recently, a young woman was attacked by two Staffordshire terriers and received serious injuries to her head and arms.
"The local Society of Companion Animal Rescuers had warned the RSPCA, Lake Macquarie Council and Local Government Minister Don Page about these dogs, and all had failed to take action.
"Waiting until someone is seriously injured by a dangerous dog is too late, the Minister must become proactive to ensure that reports of dog attacks are properly dealt with.
"The 2004 review of the Companion Animals Act recommended further consideration of the 'need for and the possibility of introducing an option for people to refer nuisance cat and dog issues to Local Courts if dissatisfied with councils' decisions or perceived inaction'.
"The Greens have a notice of motion before the NSW Upper House to refer to the Law and Justice Committee the issue of whether people should be able to refer dangerous dogs directly to local courts if the authorities fail to act.
"In the interest of public safety and animal welfare, The Greens are calling on Local Minister Don Page to support the immediate consideration of this law reform," Mr Shoebridge said.
Media contact: Mark Riboldi 0433 753 376
More information: http://davidshoebridge.org.au/
Newcastle Herald: http://www.theherald.com.au/
ABC Online: http://www.abc.net.au/news/