A DOG trainer has called on Orange City Council to coordinate education courses for owners as the state government increased penalties for attacks by the animals.
Under the new laws, a dog owner or the person in charge will be fined $1350 when a dog rushes at, attacks, bites, harasses or chases a person or animal, whether or not an injury is caused.
The fine has been increased from $550 in an attempt to improve community safety around dogs and to create a disincentive to own dogs that are of a restricted breed or declared to be dangerous.
According to the latest data, Orange had the highest number of dog attacks (22) in the Central West region between April 1 and June 30.
Some councils do, but running these programs across the board and linking it up with trainers would be a good situation.Dog trainer Debi Coleman
It was followed by Dubbo (14) and Cowra (14) and Bathurst (13) in the region.
Dog trainer Debi Coleman said the increased fines would be more effective if coupled with council-managed education programs for owners.
“Some councils do, but running these programs across the board and linking it up with trainers would be a good situation,” she said.
“It might be a good idea to offer a discount to dog owners if their dogs have completed a pre-approved training course at the time of registration.
“This program would cover how to manage your dog properly at home and how to socialise with current best practice.”
Council’s manager of corporate and community relations Nick Redmond said “council had put financial resources into efforts such as de-sexing programs, but not training programs”.
“It’s certainly worthwhile for dog owners to think seriously about training options,” he said.
“When rangers come across a problem, they will advise the owner to consider training as a way of finding a solution.
“There are a number of people and clubs locally who provide this important service.”
There were 1245 dog attacks in NSW between April 1 and June 30, causing minor injuries to 177 people and leading to medical treatment in another 133 incidents.
The attacks led to hospitalisation in 31 cases, whereas 303 people escaped unhurt.
The dogs involved in the most recorded attacks in that time were American Staffordshire Terriers (155 cases), Bull Terriers (Staffordshire) (110), Australian Cattle Dogs (69), German Shepherds (68), Rottweilers (29), Mastiffs (28) Labrador Retrievers (27) Siberian Huskies (27) and Australian Kelpies (26).
Ms Coleman said many owners are unaware of the seemingly innocuous situations that could lead to attacks, and there were simple preventative measures that could be implemented.
“A lot of these problems may be prevented by appropriate socialisation from a young age,” she said.
“This socialisation must be tailored to each individual dog as no one size fits all.
“Dogs should also be exercised regularly and learn good manners when out and about in public.”
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