|RSPCA Australia recognises that responsible dog ownership means owners accepting full responsibility for dogs in terms of their welfare, as well as meeting the standards for dog management that are expected by the community (see A1).
|Government policy on the management of dogs in the community must maintain a balance between the need to protect the health and safety of humans and other animals and the need to ensure the welfare of dogs.
|Education plays a key role in the effective management of dogs in the community. This includes both the education of dog owners on the importance of responsible pet ownership and appropriate socialisation and training of dogs, and the education of the general public and particularly children on understanding dog behaviour and human-animal interactions.
|Exercise and control
|All dogs must have the opportunity for regular, appropriate exercise to promote good physical and psychological health, provide contact with humans and allow socialisation with other dogs.
|RSPCA Australia recognises that, for the safety of animals and humans, dogs should be under effective control when in public places. Dogs may be exercised on a leash or off-leash in designated areas where the handler has effective voice control of the dog.
|All municipalities must provide sufficient safe and accessible public open spaces, such as parks, beaches or walking tracks, where dogs are permitted to be exercised off-leash. Such areas should be adequately signposted to advise people entering them that they may encounter unleashed dogs and fenced where appropriate.
|Devices used to control dogs
A properly fitted collar or harness used with a leash is an effective form of control and training aid for dogs. Collars and harnesses must be of an appropriate size, strength, material and design for the individual dog to provide effective control, but must not cause injury, pain or distress or restrict the dog’s normal activities such as panting and drinking.
|RSPCA Australia considers that any dog of any size, breed or mix of breeds may be dangerous and thus dogs should not be declared dangerous on the basis of breed or appearance. Each individual dog should be assessed based on their behaviour.
|RSPCA Australia does not support dog management legislation that discriminates against specific types or breeds of dogs.
The RSPCA believes that a prevention strategy for dog attacks must contain the following key elements: