Stop Caged Dogs in Tasmania

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Right now in Tasmania, dogs are being held in cages without ever being exercised. The RSPCA TAS say such caging is not uncommon. Dogs can be legally tethered in a similar way, 24/7, due to unenforceable animal welfare laws in Tasmania.

Dangerous dogs in Tasmania required to be caged must have a minimum of ten square meters of space (Section 4(d) Dog Control Regulations 2010 Tas). But a dog that has not been declared dangerous can legally be kept in an enclosure smaller than this, as confirmed in writing by the minister responsible.

According to the RSPCA, a cage is considered to be big enough if the dog can turn around and lay on its side with legs extended. That means some cages are not much larger than the dog itself, and if other minimum legal housing and feeding requirements are met, the RSPCA do not have a reasonable chance of legally removing a person’s dog due to lack of exercise.

Tasmania's Animal Welfare Act 1993 requires that anyone who has charge of a confined animal must exercise it, but according to the RSPCA, this law is also practically unenforceable due to resourcing priorities and the criminal burden of proof required.

A senior RSPCA officer, when referring to dogs continuously confined in cages, said she would not keep a dog in such an enclosure but there was nothing the RSPCA could do.

The minister responsible, The Hon Minister for Primary Industries, has the power to change the Dog Regulations without a vote in the Tasmanian Parliament.

The petitioners ask the Hon Minister for Primary Industries:

  • Caging and tethering dogs to be banned. Any necessary exceptions, such as dogs dangerous to people or other animals, or hard-working farm dogs, be strictly monitored by local councils to ensure dogs receive regular care, attention and exercise.
  • That all dogs required be caged to have space to run in the enclosure.
  • Request the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute to examine the efficacy of Tasmania's animal welfare laws, specifically the issue of sentience for companion animals as recently legislated in the Australian Capital Territory.