Dog owners face jail for attacks

A TRAGIC death has sparked proposed new laws which could see dog owners sent to jail for up to 10 years if their animal attacks or kills someone.

The Queensland Government has released a draft amendment to the Queensland Criminal Code with the intention of having a specific provision dealing with serious injury or death caused by a dangerous dog.

Attorney General Paul Lucas said the recent tragic case of the death of Ayen Choi in Victoria had led to debate about Queensland's dangerous dog laws.

Mr Lucas said the proposed amendment to introduce an offence of Dangerous Management of a Dog to the Criminal Code would make it clear that owners of dangerous dogs who attack or kill someone could be criminally liable and face up to ten years in jail.

"This is about making sure that the message to dog owners is loud and clear," Mr Lucas said.

"If they're not properly controlling their pet and it maims or kills a child or an adult, then they could be criminally liable for their action.

"While I've been advised that current provisions in the Queensland Criminal Code such as manslaughter could cover this type of situation, a specific provision would remove any doubt at all.

"This kind of thing is similar to what occurred many years ago when a specific provision for dangerous driving was provided so courts did not need to rely on manslaughter."

Mr Lucas said the draft amendment provided for a person to be criminally liable when reasonable steps are not taken to ensure the dog is safely managed.

"The vast majority of dog owners are responsible," Mr Lucas said.

"The amendment is not intended to cover situations where owners have taken all steps to ensure a dog is secure and safely managed.

"But where a dog is left to roam the streets and an owner has taken no steps to control the animal or ensure it is appropriately enclosed, then, under this amendment, the owner could be criminally liable if the dog attacks or kills someone and face up to ten years in jail."

Mr Lucas said key stakeholders such as Local Governments, the RSPCA, breeders and others would be consulted on the proposed changes before the Government decided if they would be introduced to Parliament.

More information about the draft legislation can be found at: www.justice.qld.gov.au/corporate/community-consultation/community-consultation-activities/current-activities/amendments-dangerous-dogs-laws



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