Owners of regulated dogs will continue to undergo annual inspections after Moreton Bay Regional Council found they resulted in a significant drop in owners failing to comply with conditions associated with keeping their animals.
At the March 30 Council meeting, councillors endorsed processes to manage owners who do not comply with permit conditions or pay registration fees.
The processes include annual inspections of properties where regulated dogs are kept and prosecuting owners who don’t pay registration fees.
Regulated dogs are categorised by Council as dangerous, menacing or restricted.
In 2019/20, there were 365 regulated dogs in the Moreton Bay Region, with inspections finding 76 did not comply with the conditions for keeping them.
In 2020/21, non-compliance fell to 31 of the 388 regulated dogs – a reduction from 31 percent to 8.1 percent.
An officers’ report at the March 30 Council meeting said regulated dog owners must comply with the mandatory conditions of the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008, as well as the usual requirements for registration.
“It is essential that the owners of regulated dogs adhere to their permit conditions, as any failure to do so can pose a safety risk within the community,” the report said.
“Interactions through the annual systematic inspection program provide the opportunity for officers to educate and reinforce the importance of responsible pet ownership to regulated dog owners and affect a change in culture.”
The owners of all dogs – regulated or not – must pay an annual registration fee.
Registering a non-regulated desexed dog costs $46 a year, with fees for regulated dogs ranging from $339 for a compliant desexed Declared Menacing dog to $890 for a non-compliant Declared Dangerous dog.
Failure to renew attracts a penalty of $275 - much less than current registration fees for regulated dogs.
In 2020/21, 58 regulated dog owners did not pay their dog registration fees, with Council $26,201 out of pocket.
Last September, Council authorised 58 prosecutions for failure of regulated dog owners to renew their dog registration. Of those, 33 have been finalised, with the court ordering payments totalling $16,412 to Council.
“Should Council not remain proactive and continue with its current position and processes to manage regulated dogs, levels of non-compliance will likely increase, including the non-payment of registration fees,” the officers’ report said.
“With projected population growth, higher density living and additional dogs coming to the region, it may prove challenging to reduce the number of regulated dogs.
“However, it has been demonstrated that an annual systematic inspection program assists in maintaining high compliance levels to the benefit of community safety.”