From 1 July 2020 the Government will introduce annual permits for owners of non-desexed cats, restricted dog breeds, and dogs declared to be dangerous.
Responsibilities of companion animal owners
Under the Act dogs and cats are defined as 'companion animals'.
We love our animals in Randwick City. They get us out of the house, they delight our children and they bring comfort and companionship to our less mobile citizens.
Randwick has many unleashed exercise areas and reserves where your dog can run free.
However, ownership of a dog or cat comes with certain responsibilities, to ensure the safety of our community, environmental amenity and protection of native wildlife.
That's why pets are not allowed on the beach or bush reserves. It's also why you must microchip and register your cat or dog, for their wellbeing and safety and to comply with the law.
Microchipping and registering your pet means you can find them if they get lost and it's also required by law.
The Companion Animals Act (1998) details many requirements for pet ownership. Some of those are:
- Dogs must have a collar and tag displaying their details when on public land.
- Dogs must be under the effective control of a competent person.
- If your dog defecates in a public place you must remove and dispose of it in a bin.
- Dogs are not allowed to rush at, chase, harass or attack any person or animal.
- Dogs and cats are not allowed at children's play areas, food preparation areas, Randwick's beaches and community centres, schools, kindergartens or wildlife protection areas.
Cats are hunters and an important factor in the decline of native animal populations. Curfews, desexing and bells alone are not effective in protecting our native animals.
Randwick City Council strongly encourages all cat owners to keep their pets indoors at night, to not feed stray cats and to properly house cats when away on holidays.
How to deal with a dog attack
Just like with a large gathering of humans, a large gathering of dogs will see a wide spectrum of personalities on display. Some dogs are shy while others are boisterous. Some pups love to play while others are unsure of the rules of engagement. Even though we all love our dogs, our dogs don’t all love each other, which may result in aggression.
What is an attack?
Rushing at, chasing, harassing, or biting a person or animal, even if no injury has occurred, are all considered to be dog attacks under the Companion Animals Act 1998.
What to do if an attack occurs
If you or your dog experience an act of aggression from another dog, there are five steps you can take to help Council investigate and resolve the incident.
- Call Council on 1300 722 542 as soon as you can. This is the most immediate way to notify our Rangers of an incident. Emails or reports sent via social media or Snap, Send, Solve may not reach the team in a timely manner.
- Let our Rangers know the time, date and location of the alleged attack and if any injuries have been sustained. If the injuries are significant, please call 000 first.
- If possible, find out the name and contact details of the attacking dog’s owner.
- If this is not possible, any photos or descriptions of the dog and owner are helpful. Descriptions could include the colour, breed and size of dog. If you notice the owner, take note of their age, height, accent (if they spoke to you), hair colour, build and what they were wearing.
- Take any photos of injuries to animal or person.
A dog attack is a very stressful situation for all concerned. Emotions will be high and adrenaline pumping, but if you are able to remember these five steps, they will be a great help in resolving the situation.
What happens next?
Once our Rangers have been notified of an attack, they will start an investigation into the incident. In cases where they are notified immediately after an attack, they will head to the park to see if they can locate the dog or its owner.
Rangers will take a formal statement from you about what happened. If you have the contact details for any other witnesses, they will also contact them for information.
An investigation can take up to 28 days to complete. This will be dependent on the complexity of case, the number of victims or witnesses, as well as the amount of information they have about the attacking dog or its owner.
How to prevent a dog attack
It is essential that all dog owners keep their dog on a lead unless they are at an off-leash dog park. Leads ensure that dogs are under the control of their owner. The fine for not using a leash is minimum $330.
If you are worried your dog is showing signs of aggressive behaviour, speak to your vet about the steps you can take to prevent an attack. Socialisation and training as well as your dog’s health can all play a part in reducing the chances of it displaying aggressive behaviour.