TWO children were lucky to avoid serious injury in two separate dog attacks on Tuesday, and the incidents have sparked the witness of one of the attacks, councillor Neil Jones, to appeal to dog owners to take responsibility for their pets.
Cr Jones was bitten on the hand when he separated the attack dog, a Jack Russell, from its victim being walked on a lead by a young boy “doing the right thing” in Ploughmans Lane, at 5.20pm on Tuesday.
“It was a totally unprovoked attack,” Cr Jones said.
“It latched on to the small dog and the little boy screamed out.”
Earlier in the day, at about 4pm, police attended an incident in Leura Road where a 14-year-old boy required stitches when a staffordshire bull terrier/cattle dog cross bit him on the calf, after escaping from its yard.
The owners of both animals have since surrendered their dogs to the council to be euthanased.
Council spokesman Allan Reeder said the owner of the staffordshire bull terrier/cattle dog was “very apologetic”.
“He told council staff he accidentally left the gate open,” he said.
“He feels terrible and surrendered his dog.”
Cr Jones the companion animals community committee chair said the two attacks involving off leash dogs highlighted the dangers of irresponsible pet ownership.
“There are dog owners who feed their dog once a day and think that’s all they have to do,” Cr Jones said.
“There are far too many animals kept indoors or in small yards that don’t get exercise ... when that dog gets out they don’t have the behaviour to react to the circumstances.”
Cr Jones said council staff could only do so much to police regulations and it was up to pet owners to ensure their dog was secured in a fenced yard or always on a lead except in leash-free areas.
Although some people may be reluctant to report stray dogs to the council ranger, Cr Jones said it was vital to avoid potential attacks and traffic issues.
“It’s always good if a resident can safely restrain a [stray] dog, but they obviously should assess if it’s dangerous and approach all stray dogs carefully,” he said.
He said the committee was investigating locations for more leash free areas including the Orange Showground ring, a site close to the botanic gardens, and/or a site in west Orange.
“It’s not somewhere you take the dog and let it go ... it needs to be under control,” he said.
“It’s no different to raising a child, there are training and behaviour issues that have to be addressed.”