DOG LAW REFORM

Submission to the Government during its
Review of the Dog Control Act 2000


TOPIC: Infringement Notices


The maximum penalty a Court may impose for a barking offence is currently $500.
The prescribed penalty for this offence when punished by Infringement Notice is $200. This
penalty for barking is regarded by many as too severe and they resist payment.
Councils and the Police may issue Infringement Notices under s64 of the Act.
Councils hardly ever do, and the Police never do.
There is a Fines Collection Unit.
In Tasmania it is common for offenders to ignore fines.

This situation has been allowed by default to become conventional.

While the non-payment of fines is condoned by the government the desired improvement in
offender conduct is less likely to occur.

To reduce the torments of day and night barking
a practical working method to secure compliance with law is essential.


Recommended:

1. That a simple, easily understood formula for the imposition of fines be devised and
implemented.

2. That it be agreed that the formula most likely to be readily understood is one based on the
binary system.

3. That the starting point for this formula should be a Standard Percentage of the maximum fine
that a Court can impose. As an example let this be 20%. Currently this translates to a reduction
in penalty to one half of the present $200, that is, itís now down to $100. Payment of this
reduced sum is less likely to be resisted.

4. To further help secure payment within 21 days, the offender may be offered the inducement
of a halving of that sum, namely to $50, but should he refuse to do pay that amount within 42
days then that inducement offer is forfeited and he becomes liable for the standard 20% of
maximum. This is still only half of the current penalty.

5. That in the event of subsequent barking offences the penalty will double each time with the
same 50% reduction inducement for prompt payment.

6. In the event that the offender commits a fourth barking offence in any twelve month period
he must be immediately offered the option of another penalty doubling with no halving
inducement or the mandatory re-location of his animal at his own expense.

7. Should the offender refuse to co-operate in the re-location of his dog, the animal is to be
seized forthwith without recompense and immediately becomes the property of the state for
disposal as it sees fit.