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Serious Dog Attacks in Queensland Could Lead to Jail Time and Fines

Owners of dangerous dogs in Queensland could face jail time of up to three years and fines of $108,000 if their dogs carry out serious attacks, under the state’s newly introduced legislation.

The proposed legislation—which brings Queensland into line with other jurisdictions—is in response to demand from the community for tougher laws on dog attacks, according to Queensland Agricultural Industry Development Minister Mark Furner.

“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,” he said.

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

This comes after several attacks in the Sunshine State left at least six people hospitalized, three of whom were children.

In February, a three-year-old girl in Gold Coast was mauled by a dog and rushed to hospital, ending up with serious head and neck injuries.

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That was one of three dog attacks reported to Queensland Ambulance on that night alone.

In another case in early November, four people were attacked in Morayfield, 50 kilometres north of Brisbane.

A 31-year-old man was left seriously injured with significant wounds to his right forearm, while a 41-year-old woman, a 21-year-old woman, and a 25-year-old man were treated for wounds and scratches.

5 Dog Breeds to Be Banned

In addition, five breeds of dog will be banned under the new legislation, namely, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Japanese Tosa, the American pit bull terrier or pit bull terrier, and the Perro de Presa Canario or Presa Canario.

This proposed clause has gained little support from the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).

“Breed on its own is not an effective indicator or predictor of aggression in dogs,” the Association said in an October statement obtained by 9News.

“It ignores the human element whereby dog owners who desire this kind of dog will simply substitute another breed of dog of similar size, strength, and perception of aggressive tendencies.”

The RSPCA, on the other hand, argued that about 80 percent of dog bites happen in the home, rather than in the community.

The government has also committed a fund of $7.574 million, which will include a three-year community and awareness campaign promoting responsible dog ownership, in the hope of preventing and reducing dangerous dog attacks.

The funds will also be used to form a more “co-ordinated, consistent, and effective government action” in response to dog attacks, according to a statement by the Queensland government.

The government gave Queenslanders until Aug. 24 to respond to the community consultation.

Over 3,650 Queenslanders completed a survey and over 300 written submissions were received through a 60-day consultation process to assess public support for the reforms.

A grandfather period for people who own those dogs prior to the legislation passing will allow them to keep the animal, according to Agriculture Minister Furner.

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