A SPATE of dog attacks on livestock in the Bathurst area has led to a call for people to make sure they restrain their dogs properly when they are unsupervised.
Livestock Health and Pest Authorities ranger Paul Medway estimates that at least one attack a week has been occuring recently and said people needed to be aware of the consequences for owning dogs that maul livestock were serious.
“I would get one call a week. Not on a big scale, but I get plenty of calls from people who have had two or three sheep mauled,” he said.
“People need to take responsibility for their pets because if it can be proved that it is your dog that is responsible, you can be required to pay compensation for the lost stock.”
Mr Medway said the attacked occurred mainly in semi-rural areas like Mount Rankin and Napolean’s Reef.
“You get people who want the rural lifestyle and they take their dogs with them,” he said.
“They head off to work in the morning, let their dogs off when they get home and they get bored, go for a walk and end up attacking livestock.”
Bathurst Regional Council assistant ranger Michael Hall said the onus was on owners to make sure their pets were not getting into trouble.
“Owners of a dog that attacks humans or other animals can face a $550 fine and then they can be civilly liable, meaning owners can take them to court for compensation,” he said.
“There can be other ramifications as well, such as if the animal isn’t microchipped.”
Mr Hall said dogs that had been proved to have attacked livestock could face consequences such as being required to be kept in purpose-built constructions or being put down.
“Depending on who livestock owners report any acts to, either the police or the council can handle it. There are a number of provisions under the Companion Animal Act of 1998 to deal with pets that have attacked animals or humans,” he said.
“A dog can be declared a dangerous dog, which then requires it to be kept in a specially-made enclosure which is clearly labelled dangerous dog.”
Livestock owners are also entitled to shoot a dog that is in the middle of an attack on their animals if it is on their property.