The Brisbane City Council has now bagged a common dog problem. The council has been delving into dog’s business and introduced a new law on 1st September to require dog owners to carry a bag when walking their dogs. Through this law, the council are hoping to encourage dog owners to collect any waste that their pooches produce.

I couldn’t agree with this new law more.

Just the other day while taking my son, to school I noted a long trail of doggy do-dos scattered like land mines on the footpath outside his school.  My exclamation was one millisecond too late and my son’s foot flattened the fouling whereby the excrement cemented itself between the treads of his joggers. If this wasn’t bad enough, the problem was made worse in that he was, at that moment, due to jump on a school bus to go on an excursion where he, his smelly shoe and sixty other students were to be detained in a bus for and hour and a half.

How irresponsible was that phantom dog owner to allow their pooch to soil the footpath in the first place and especially outside a school?

The problem is of Olympic proportions. In ways known only to them, the researchers at the council have determined that every year the pooches of Brisbane plonk enough produce in public places to fill one and a half Olympic-sized swimming pools.  I’ll leave that mental imagery alone, but the council has been dropping the hint for some time that they don’t want Fido’s faeces fouling the footpaths and that is why the Brisbane City Council has come up with this new law.

The new law requires that the person in charge of a dog that is in a public place carries a bag or container that is suitable for picking up and disposing of their dog’s waste. Indeed you will need to carry two bags because if you have used one, to comply with the law you will need another in reserve.

The law to stoop and scoop pooch poop is not new, having been in force for years, but while this old law is sensible, it is difficult to enforce. The new law will help to bag the problem and will give the council additional power to ensure dog owners are doing the right thing.

Some important facts about the law are:

  • The bag law was introduced on the 1st September 2003.
  • However, fines for not carrying a suitable bag whilst walking your dog will not apply until the 1st September 2004.  This is to allow dog owners time to get used to carrying bags.
  • After 1st September 2004 a fine of $37.50 will be imposed for dog owners who do not carry a bag.
  • The fine still applies if you have used and disposed of your bag so you need to carry more than one.
  • It is still currently a requirement to pick up after your dog when it defecates in a public place. The fine for not doing so is $150.
This means that, come next September, if your dog soils in a public place and you are not carrying a bag, you could score a double whammy of $187.50. Maybe the council are into pet’s business but that makes the carrying of a bag cheap insurance.

While the smell and appearance of dog feces on the street is offensive, dog droppings are also unhygienic.  There are risks of infection to people (especially children) because some life-stages of dog worms can cause significant illness in people. Dog feces also carry bacterial, viral and protozoan infections that could cause illness in people. Thankfully this risk is very small, but it is present.

Suitable bags that you can clip onto your lead are available for purchase at most pet shops, and veterinary clinics. Bags are also available in dispensers at council off-leash parks. However a plastic shopping bag is quite suitable as are the medium sized sandwich bags of the type that have carry handles as the handles allow you to tie the bag closed.

The Brisbane City Council is also holding a series of Dog Breakfasts to promote and explain the new laws it has introduced (hot dogs are not on the menu!) Contact the Brisbane City Council for dates and locations near you.

There are other regulations that relate to the keeping of other animals that the council has also refreshed.

For instance, you can only keep three cats on your property without having a cattery permit. A horse cannot be kept on premises with an area less than 800 square meters (that’s just over 31 perches in old measures). With poultry, if you live on premises less than 800 square meters you can house no more than six birds (for example chickens, geese and ducks) and premises more than 800 square meters can hold no more than twenty birds.

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Dr Cam Day

Dr Cam Day

Vet Behavioralist

Dr Cam Day is a Veterinarian consulting full-time in pet behaviour in South-East Queensland, Australia.