Dog owners in Tasmania whose pets kill or injure wildlife face hefty fines under new laws designed to protect vulnerable little penguin colonies.
The state government crackdown on irresponsible dog owners comes after a spate of penguin maulings on the island state.
More than 170 of the tiny birds have died in dog attacks in about a year, including roughly 40 in one incident at Wynyard in August.
"(The laws) send a clear message: if your dog injures or kills sensitive wildlife like little penguins, then there will be serious consequences," Local Government Minister Mark Shelton said.
Owners whose dogs kill or injure sensitive wildlife could be fined up to $5040, have their pet destroyed, and be liable for other costs.
Additional fines could also apply, depending on the circumstances of the attack.
The penalty for taking a dog into a prohibited area containing sensitive habitat for native wildlife has increased to $3360.
"This approach will support local councils wishing to prohibit the entry of dogs into ecologically significant areas, such as little penguin colonies," Mr Shelton said.
The amendments to the Dog Control Amendment Bill passed parliament on Thursday.
Australian Associated Press