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Tasmanian Government acts to protect little penguins from dog attacks
The Tasmanian Government is introducing tougher penalties for dog owners whose animals injure or kill penguins.
Amid fears that colonies could be wiped out following the deaths of more than 170 birds in the last two years, a new bill sets a new maximum fine of $5,040 for owners of dogs that injure or kill sensitive wildlife, while the dogs could also be destroyed.
Under the current Dog Control Act 2000, the owner of a dog that injures or kills an animal can be fined up to $2,600.
The penalty for taking a dog into a prohibited area will also increase, from $1,680 to $3,360.
The Tasmanian Government announced in June that it would review the act after 42 little penguins were mauled to death by a dog at Wynyard in the state's north-west.
More than 170 little penguins have died in various colonies around the state in the past year, which wildlife experts say puts the species in a "tenuous" position.
Tasmanian Local Government Minister Mark Shelton said the amendments would keep dog owners in line, telling the ABC "this is to make sure the owners of the dogs can be prosecuted, and so the owners of the dogs have to take responsibility for the actions of their pets.
"It's not only little penguins (under the legislation), it's any vulnerable native animal around the coastline that's been declared."
Owner of the Low Head Penguin Tours, Shirley Lincoln, welcomed the move.
Lincoln advised "we can start on this and build up more.
"Half the time up here, people don't realise their dogs are out."
The act will see the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service given the ability to take DNA samples from dogs suspected of attacking native wildlife.
The Tasmanian Government move includes no action on surveillance and enforcement.
The public has until 27th September to comment on the proposed Dog Control Act changes.
11th March 2019 - New device at Melbourne Zoo helps to monitor Little Penguin health
23rd September 2018 - Tasmanian Council pushes ahead with by-laws banning people from public places
19th November 2015 - Fence to protect newly released Tasmanian Devils
5th November 2015 - Fox massacres Melbourne Zoo penguins
8th October 2015 - Giant Pandas and Little Penguins combine for conservation
10th April 2015 - Quad bikers defy track bans in Tasmania’s remote conservation areas
15th January 2015 - Tasmanian Government to allow tourism projects in World Heritage Area
16th April 2012 - Stolen Sea World fairy penguin recovered
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