'People still don't know the law': education key to reducing dog attacks

EDUCATION: Dog trainer Pam Davis with golden retriever Bono. Photo:STEVE GOSCH 0607sgdog

EDUCATION: Dog trainer Pam Davis with golden retriever Bono. Photo:STEVE GOSCH 0607sgdog

 DOG attacks continue to be more prevalent in Orange than Bathurst, with the latest figures showing there were more than three times the incidents here.

Figures from January to March 2014 showed there were 25 attacks in Orange, 19 of which involved people, while there were seven incidents in Bathurst with only three people attacked. 

Orange Pet Dog Training owner Pam Davis said Bathurst Regional Council had the answer to reducing the number of attacks. 

Bathurst invests $20,000 a year in education programs that target people in lower socio-economic areas of the city, encouraging them to register their dogs and informing them about dog ownership laws.

“People still don’t know the law, people don’t know that it is against the law to have your dog off its lead unless it is in a designated leash free area,” Mrs Davis said. 

“Council have a brochure, which I hand out at all my lessons, but obviously there are people not getting the information.”

She said the problem was exacerbated in Orange because people in lower socio-economic areas were less likely to spend money on dog training, less likely to take their dog to the vet and therefore less likely to be exposed to the correct information about dog ownership.

OUR SAY: EDUCATION JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG

Orange City Council spokesman Allan Reeder said the increase in dog attacks on people in Orange was a real concern, but the solution fell  back on dog owners. 

The council asks all dog owners to look seriously at how their dogs are trained, how well they are socialised with other dogs and whether  gates are secure enough  to protect the dog from theft and also to protect any unexpected passer-by from being rushed at, he said. 

“Think about a convenient lock or even a piece of wire that might prevent a child opening a gate without help, and them leaving it open when they leave, so the dog can escape,” he said.

“If there are expenses in making a yard more secure, weigh that up against the size of a fine on top of the tragedy of having a family pet put down, or a tragic attack on a neighbour.”

An incident where a dog rushes at, barks at, growls at or bites a person or another animal is considered an attack. 

In Orange there were 15,793 registered dogs and in Bathurst there were 17,011. 

In October to December last year there were 12 attacks in Orange. 

Pam Davis’ tips for anyone who is confronted by a dangerous dog while walking their own dog on a lead.

* Carry treats with you at all times and throw the treats towards the aggressive dog.

* Run down the nearest driveway in the hope the aggressive dog will eat the food and leave. 

* Maintain control of your own dog and attempt to gain the undivided attention of your own dog while telling it to sit. 

* If your dog is attacked, drop the lead in the hope your own dog may run away from the attacking dog.

nicole.kuter@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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