Victoria Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh
Support For Councils Facing Extra Work From Dog Laws
Victor P Taffa
The Victorian Coalition Government is providing eight councils with extra financial assistance to help them enforce tough laws on dangerous pit bull dogs.
Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh said $135,000 would be distributed among councils experiencing a significant increase in work.
“Victoria’s councils have received thousands of telephone calls since new legislation was introduced to impose criminal penalties on owners of dangerous dogs who attack people and to end the amnesty for registration of pit bulls.” Mr. Walsh.
“The dangerous dog hotline has received 565 reports of suspected dangerous or restricted breed dogs since it was established in August and councils have received many more.”
“Local governments’ obligation to enforce dog laws has not changed but the decision to end the amnesty and increase penalties has resulted in more work for some councils.”
“Many owners have asked councils to assess their dog against the new standards to ensure their animal does not qualify as a pit bull cross.”
“Some councils have assigned additional administrative staff to handle the phone calls and paperwork in order to free up the time of skilled animal management officers.” Mr. Walsh said.
Mr. Walsh said he had been working closely with Local Government Minister Jeanette Powell and the Municipal Association of Victoria to determine what extra resources councils needed.
“Hume and Casey will receive $30,000 because they have experienced the greatest increase in workload. The funding will help offset the costs they have incurred by putting on additional staff and will help them deal with the hundreds of dogs still requiring assessment.”
“Grants of $15,000 will go to Melton, Whittlesea and Wyndham councils who have also allocated additional staff and reported they have up to 200 dogs requiring priority assessment.” Mr. Walsh said.
“Brimbank, Cardinia and Banyule councils will receive $10,000 grants to respond to a large number of enquiries related specifically to the change in legislation.”
Mr. Walsh thanked councils for the efforts they had made in response to the decision to end the restricted breed amnesty and impose tougher penalties for dangerous dog attacks.
“We will continue to work with local government to improve public safety from dangerous dog attacks.” Mr. Walsh said.