Family & Pets
"Let me out!": This Aussie city will fine you for not walking your dog
One Australian state has made sure to put animal welfare at the top of its list of priorities as soon, pet owners could land themselves a hefty fine for not walking their dog.
Under the Animal Welfare Legislation Amendment Bill 2019, animals are now recognised by law as sentient beings in Canberra.
The new legislation will put pet owners under a microscope as anyone caught confining their pet to a small space for 24 hours can be heavily penalised.
“Section 6F [of the new law] makes it a strict liability offence not to exercise a dog when a dog is confined, unless reasonable exercise is provided or the confinement is necessary for the dog’s welfare,” read the legislation.
This offence has a maximum penalty of 25 penalty units and an associated infringement notice of $500.”
The penalty unit in the ACT is $160.
If an animal is found to be in an enclosed space, then owners will have to prove that for the pet’s welfare – and it’s age, physical condition and size will be taken into consideration.
Pets can still be kept in a backyard, house or apartment as long as it is able to move freely.
Christ Steel, Minister for City Services said the law would make the ACT a “national leader in animal welfare”.
“Modern animal welfare is about considering how an animal is coping both mentally and physically with the conditions in which it lives,” said Steel.
“For the first time under law we are recognising the science, that animals are sentient, and they feel emotion and pain.”
Under the new laws, the Animal Welfare Authority can impose a temporary ban for up to six months if animal abuse is proven.
Aggravated cruelty charges – like dog fighting for example – can land owners behind bars for up to three years.
“This legislation will enable better enforcement of laws to protect animals,” said Steel.
“People who do not properly care for their animals, such as failing to provide a dog with water or shelter, face new on the spot fines.
“Fines for those offences can now be easily issued by officers as part of the new escalation enforcement framework to deter further acts of cruelty from happening.”
The laws will be put into place in six months.