Amendment to Animal Management Act – in relation to protection of endangered cassowary populations

Date: 20 January 2017
Submitted by: Ingrid Marker, Cassowary Keystone Conservation

To Cassowary Regional Council and other interested parties.

What they past two year journey has shown me is this new amendment to the Animal Management Act is long over due.

Enclosed is the information I have gathered from talking to the community about roaming/menacing dogs and the wide ranging impacts they inflict. It also includes how easy it will be for CCRC to adapt and enforce these changes, make the enforcement costs a user pay system that in the years ahead will result in huge savings to Council and all those impacted by this problem.


To whom it may concern,

In a Council meeting 19.1.17 I was shocked to hear Council make something so simple into such a big problem and failed to see the possibilities for positive change.

The State Government has made an amendment to the Animal Management Act. This amendment will solve a serious growing problem regarding dogs and is long overdue.

We all know that domestic cats or kittens that are dumped, abandoned or lost become feral cats and these feral cats (wild cats) are a major cause of extinction to many of our Australia’s native species.

Domestic dogs or puppies that are dumped, abandoned or lost become feral dogs. These roaming/feral dogs (wild dogs) cause a major threat to public safety, kill native wildlife including many endangered species (Environmental Tourism) and livestock (Agricultural Industry).

A single dog can menace or attack (people, pets, wildlife and stock)or dogs can work as a effective pack. Dogs can cover a great distance over many land tenures in a single hunt, can kill or maul many animals and can bring down much larger prey than any feral cat and feral cats are not a threat to human safety and hunt alone. There is an increase in dog attacks on people and Council has a “Duty of Care” to protect rate payers from this threat under the Animal Management Act by stopping dogs roaming.

Roaming or feral dogs are also a threat to native and endangered species and in the Cassowary Coast we have a “Duty of Care” to protect the endangered Southern Cassowary from one of the major threats identified by the Cassowary Recovery Team “dog attack”.

Roaming or feral dogs are also a major problem to the agricultural industry killing or mauling many livestock in a single hunt resulting in financial and emotion stress to farmers, whilst they increase the risk, of spreading diseases like “Panama” a Bio-Security concern.

Australia currently euthanize 1/4 Million healthy unwanted pets at a cost to rate payers.

Animal shelters are always full and during the holiday season are over run with unwanted pets.

The State Government has indentified the need to address the issue of roaming/feral dogs

  • Every dog in the State to be de-sexed unless;
  • Entire dogs would be considered breeding dogs so you will need a permit.
  • All dogs and puppies to be micro-chipped
  • Council to Enforce above amendments to Act

Cassowary Coast Council stated they have cannot do the enforcement without more money and help from the State, and it was mentioned in the Council meeting it could result in another rates increase. This would mean non dog owners would also have to pay for dog management?


  • Council starts a media campaign educating the public to de-sex their dogs this could be included on the upcoming rate notice. De-sexed dog costs $26.00
  • Council could make all rate payers pay to register their dog. Currently only residential rate payers pay for dog registration, rural dog owners are free this to many seem discriminatory. Rural dog owners could claim registration costs on their primary producer tax refund.
  • Costs to register an entire dog. $99.00. (If you had a entire dog this would indicate you intend to breed so Council would need to include a breeders permit at a cost).
  • Every dog in Shire to be micro-chipped including every puppy. Under the new amendment all puppies including (free to good home or sold) This is to stop accidental pregnancies, puppy farming and back yard breeders. To reduce the 1/4 Million healthy animal euthanized; we also pay $65 Million annually for the maintenance of the wild dog fence. This keeps wild dogs away from livestock trapping them in our protected areas with endangered wildlife???? These are all escaped or lost entire (breeding) domestic dogs that can then breed with or native dingo.
  • Council would then only have to inspect the entire or breeding female dogs from (6mths – 6 years of age) for litters to enforce the new laws. (This information is stored a data base micro-chip system with these costs met by a user pay system, “you own a entire dog you pay ” and infringement fines.)
  • As dogs live for approx 10-15 years each year in the future Councils dog management problems and costs will reduce as no new puppies will be adding to the current over supply problem.
  • Council should enforce that any dog that has threatened a person, pet or wildlife should be “Declared dangerous dog” registration costs $400.00

Results from a survey I conducted over the past 18 months from Cardwell to Cape Tribulation, Kuranda to Mareeba. I averaged approx 150- 180 signatures at each market stall with my petition regarding impacts of roaming dogs and if the public thought enough was being done to address their concerns. I have over 7000 signatures on a paper petition asking for  a tightening and amendment to Animal Management Act this change is one of the recommendations.

In Mareeba I was shocked to received 2000 signatures in one day. This community had a major problem with feral dogs attacking livestock and many farmers stated ” lost pig dogs enter my property from the Wet Tropics,  escaped from hunting pigs in the banana/ sugar cane coastal plains and run up the hill into my bloody paddocks and take out my stock.”

Coastal plain  $ Dollars    Sugar/bananas & tourism   (problem pigs & dogs)

Wet Tropics    $ Dollars   Tourism                                  (problem pigs & dogs)

Tablelands      $Dollars    Livestock                               (problem dogs)

I agree pigs are a major and complex problem across the board to solve, however we do not need to add lost/roaming dogs to the problem. I believe with this amendment to the Animal Management Act we will quickly and effectively radically reduce the roaming/feral dog/ unwanted dog issues we are currently facing.

Myself and many silent/and not so silent victims are encouraged by this news and ask Council to embrace this needed protection in accordance to their “Duty of Care” obligations.

Kind regards

Ingrid Marker
Cassowary Keystone Conservation Inc|
Finalist  Wet Tropics Management Authority “Cassowary Awards” Education Category 2016
Finalist  “Australia Day” Environmental Award 2017