CITY of Wanneroo rangers now have the power to waive a $300 voluntary surrender fee on the spot for owners of dogs involved in serious attacks.
The City has changed its fees and charges to speed up the process of surrendering dogs that pose a “significant risk”, removing the need for the community safety and emergency manager to waive the fees.
According to the February council report, the surrender fee for 2017-18 was $300 and previously authorised officers could seek the manager’s approval to waive it when the owner of a dog involved in a serious attack agreed to surrender the pet in the public interest.
“Where surrender occurs due to a dog having committed a serious attack, the surrender fee includes the destruction of the dog as soon as practicable by a veterinarian,” it said.
“If the fee waiver is approved, the officer must return to the owner’s property and take possession of the animal.
“The delay in taking possession of the animal whilst awaiting approval for the waiver of the scheduled fee provides owners the opportunity to change their minds.”
The report said that may result in the City taking legal measures to seize the animal under warrant.
“Such seizures are often distressing for animals and their owners,” it said.
Criteria for a ranger to waive the fees include that the dog has been involved in an attack causing serious injury or death to a human or animal, or causing injury on multiple occasions.
The report defined injuries as those requiring medical or veterinary attention, such as broken bones, lacerations that need stitches, loss of sensation or function in a body part, or injuries requiring cosmetic surgery.
It said the City’s records showed 14 of the 41 dogs surrendered in 2016-17 were given up due to dog attacks.
The $300 fee will still apply to dogs surrendered in other circumstances, and covers costs associated with rangers’ time spent engaging with dog owners as well as impounding and feeding the dog for up to seven days.
“After this period, if the dog passes behavioural testing, it may be adopted or transferred to the Shenton Park dog home,” the report said.
“However, if behavioural testing determines the dog to be aggressive, the dog will be destroyed by a veterinarian.”