Independent review into dog management

A report on the findings of an Independent Expert Review into the Management of Dogs in the ACT (PDF 3.1MB) (the Review) has been released.

The Review provides 34 recommendations to assist Domestic Animal Services (DAS) in becoming an Australian and international leader in dog management.

A panel of four members with national and international experience in the fields of animal regulation, including investigations, veterinary practice and animal law, undertook the Review which started in February 2018.

The review looked into the operations of DAS and its processes and practices, as well as how it implements domestic animal laws including in respect of dangerous dogs.

The report acknowledges that DAS has made a concerted effort over the past 12 months to improve animal management and welfare practices, improve public amenity and keep the community safe and these efforts are to be congratulated.

The Panel also recognises DAS' efforts to become a leader in dog management, stating that ‘in order to be the best in anything, there needs to be a very strong will to be the best. It is the view of the panel that the ACT Government, through DAS has the will required to be the best’.

The Panel also make suggestions for how the ACT Government can develop ‘the Canberra Model’ for dog management and progress to being an Australian and international leader by working with and understanding the drivers for the Canberra community.

The key findings include:

  • development of a single DAS operating manual - currently being prepared and will be made publicly available
  • finalising and publishing DAS’ Accountability Commitment (PDF 2.3MB) to the community it serves
  • improved data collection to measure the progress of DAS programs - DAS is currently undertaking a significant amount of work in improving data capture and reporting
  • active promotion of responsible pet ownership and use of targeted education campaigns, including around DAS and its value to the community – the community will be hearing and seeing more about DAS and the work it does, and DAS will open its doors to the community in the first DAS Open Day later this year
  • the provision of information on responsible procurement of pet dogs including a formal pairing process for dogs and potential owners and follow-up checks after 30 days to ensure the new relationship is going well - DAS has committed to expanding and formalising the range of services it provides to assist in appropriate rehoming of dogs
  • regulation of the use of leads over two metres in length, including retractable leads.

View the full Government response to the Independent Expert Review into Dog Management in the ACT. (PDF 684KB)

View the April 2019 Progress Update. (PDF 730KB)

Independent review into the case of Izzy the dog

The independent review into the case of Izzy the dog (PDF 840KB) has determined that everyone involved in Izzy's collection, assessment, and subsequent euthanasia were compliant with their obligations under the ACT Public Service Code of Conduct and relevant legislation, including Domestic Animal Services and veterinary staff. Ultimately all decisions regarding Izzy's health were made by qualified veterinary surgeons with Izzy's wellbeing and welfare in mind.

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We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.