Orange has the most dog attacks in the Central West, new figures reveal

BEWARE OF THE BITE: Dog attacks are on the rise in the warmer months. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

BEWARE OF THE BITE: Dog attacks are on the rise in the warmer months. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

There have been more dog attacks in Orange than elsewhere in the Central West, according to the latest official figures.

The figures show that from October last year to March this year there were 35 dog attacks reported in Orange.

That compared to 14 in Bathurst, 18 in Parkes, 21 in Cowra and none in Blayney.

The Office of Local Government figures show that of the 35 attacks, two people were involved in a serious attack, 21 more people were in less serious attacks and 29 animals were attacked.

Dog training and behaviour specialist Debi Coleman said that post-winter was the worst time for attacks as it was mating season.

“Definitely when you come toward the warmer months there is a lot of mating going on,” she said.

She said dogs were aroused and more likely to attack, particularly those on the loose.

“A male dog will roam long distances to get to a female.”

She said it was the responsibility of owners to get their dogs trained and socialised with people and other dogs in their first six months.

“You can teach an old dog new tricks, but it is trickier. You really want to get them earlier.”

According to Ms Coleman most dogs bite out of fear.

She said that if people were threatened by a dog, they should stand as still as possible and not make eye contact with the dog.

“If a dog is coming at you stand still like a tree, tuck your hands under your armpit and look away from the dog, breathe normally, stay as calm as possible.”

She said that if the dog knocked you over to roll into a ball and hold your head in your hands to minimise the dog’s ability to harm you.

The figures also showed that the number of dogs microchipped in Orange has increased from 13,094 in mid-2012 to 18,662.

“There’s certainly more dogs. It’s common for people to have two dogs now,” she said.

Chair of the Orange City Council companion animal community committee councillor Neil Jones said owners had to be more responsible in containing their dogs on their property and controlling them when walking them.

“There is a spike in attacks when we are coming out of the winter months,” Cr Jones said. “Now is the appropriate time that residents are reminded of their responsibility. You must ensure your fences are secure.”

He said fines of up to $1100 applied to owners who did not control their dogs.

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