Own a dangerous dog? Expect a knock on the door

THE owners of declared dangerous and menacing dogs can expect a knock on the door from Sunshine Coast Council.

A complete inspection of homes where dangerous dogs live will run from October until December as part of council's stance on responsible pet ownership.

And hefty fines will apply.

Council officers will have the power to issue $796 on-the-spot fines during the blitz, where the conditions of keeping a dangerous,menacing or restricted dog - also known as a regulated dog - will be under intense scrutiny.

Owners of the regulated dogs must have adequate fencing, and their dog desexed and microchipped. The dog must be muzzled in public, never allowed off the leash in public and have a special tag on its collar.

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The owner must have special signage on the house and pay higher registration fees.

The registration fees for a regulated dog are $397 from October 1 this year.

Currently on the Sunshine Coast, there are 67 regulated dogs that have attacked someone or another animal or acted in a way to cause fear to someone or another animal.

In the past year, 29 dogs were declared dangerous or menacing by council officers.

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Some of these dogs have been euthanised, including a German shepherd that ripped into the calf of an elderly man walking at Caloundra two weeks ago.

Seventeen regulated dogs are still under the care of their owner.

In a Sunshine Coast Council ordinary meeting yesterday, councillors heard pet owners could have their dog seized if there was an immediate threat to the public and could face fines of up to $8538 for failure to comply.

The inspection program will cost $16,000, but council says it will be covered by the registration fees from owners of regulated dogs.

The Daily's front page earlier this year.
The Daily's front page earlier this year.

Councillor Jenny McKay said this was about making owners responsible for their pet's actions.

"If a dog is registered as dangerous, the dog owner does get permission to keep that dog, but it does comes with a hefty fee and responsibilities," Cr McKay said.

"Council will be actually door-knocking after the recent attacks that we've had that are totally unacceptable to our local authority here, ensuring they are doing the right thing.

"I have had calls from all over Australia with people saying good on you, stand tall, enough is enough because this is about responsible pet management and it's not about the animal.

"It's about owners clearly being responsible for the actions of their dogs.

"It is unprecedented what we have experienced in the last several weeks, but this decision here for these inspections is to send a clear message that if you're one of these owners you will be watched and council will be monitoring the actions and if you're not doing the right thing there will be hefty fines."

Dog and cat registration notices will be issued to Sunshine Coast residents this month and fees are due by September 30.

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