Dogs on the run
By Grant Reynolds
Who let the dogs out?
That is the question being asked by many Noosa residents and visitors who say man's best friend is running amok in areas where local law requires dogs to be on a leash.
A Mr Hopkins, visiting from Burleigh Heads, wrote to Noosa News and reported his wife had been attacked by a dog while bike riding near the Noosa Yacht Club (also see NN letters, page 7 today).
Mr Hopkins questioned the number of dogs that were "running loose in the river park area". Manager of public order and safety at Noosa Council, Ron Thomas, said animal control received between 3000 and 4000 complaints about dogs each year and each complaint was taken seriously and acted upon.
"Once we've investigated and can prove the incident occurred, we've got reasonable laws to protect the non-dog owners," he said.
"If the dog continues to show aggressive behaviour we'll throw the book at them (the owners) but most dog owners are very responsible."
In extreme cases, Mr Thomas said council could impound the dog, but everyone gets a "second chance" before that option is enforced.
One example of Noosa Council's animal control operations was sending officers on random patrols of areas where dogs were known to be off leashes.
Warning could then be issued to the owner or an on-the-spot fine for repeat offenders, starting at $75.
Local Law 23 states a person should have their dogs under "effective control" in a public place with no more than two dogs under "effective control".
"Effective control" means a dog must be on a leash or a choker chain - held by the person - or have the leash tethered to a fixed object close to the person.
Further information regarding local laws for dog control can be found on the Noosa Council website at: www.noosa.qld.gov.au/ServicesFacilities/Environmental Health/ AnimalControl.shtml