Queensland’s animal management taskforce has proposed a raft of measures aimed at cracking down on irresponsible dog owners.

Amongst the proposals are increased penalties for owners of dogs that cause harm, jail time for the most serious attacks, statewide bans on restricted breeds, and the development of a community education program.

Mark Furner, Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities, said the next step is to undertake community consultation on the proposed changes.

“These proposals changes promote responsible dog ownership, protect the community, and enforce appropriate penalties when community standards aren’t met.”

The proposals are based on feedback provided by the taskforce working group, which were developed in conjunction with sub-working groups from across Queensland.

Alison Smith, CEO of the Local Government Association of Queensland, said they look forward to continuing to work with the State to progress these changes.

“Dangerous dogs are a critical issue for communities and councils have worked hard to find sensible, workable solutions to a growing problem that often has terrible, and even tragic, consequences.”

Other proposed changes include on-the-spot fines for off-leash dogs, and a statewide ban on dog breeds prohibited for import by the Commonwealth.

Minister Furner said that as well as tough new penalties, better owner education was critical to reducing dog bites and a community education program targeted at children and dog owners was proposed to the taskforce to combat this.

Councils have also brought forward a number initiatives to the taskforce that it will continue to analyse.

These include the fast-tracking of decisions and appeals on the future of seized dangerous animals, a centralised database for microchipping details, additional enforcement provisions for unregistered and unmicrochipped animals and repeat offenders, and improved powers for council officers.

A paper detailing the proposed changes to the Animal Management (Cats & Dogs) Act 2008 will now be prepared for public consultation.

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