4 November 2022

'Almost one attack per day': owners urged to take responsibility after dog attack increase

| Albert McKnight
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dog at beach

Eurobodalla Council has urged dog owners to take responsibility for their pets. Photo: ESC.

As there has been an increase in dog attacks against people and animals in the Eurobodalla, the region’s council has urged owners to take responsibility for their pets while also announcing the timesharing of beaches has begun.

Eurobodalla Shire Council has already reported that there have been 31 dog attacks on people, 25 on livestock, 18 on wildlife and 42 on other dogs so far in 2022.

The council’s acting senior ranger Mitchell Stirling said the number of dog attacks on farm animals and other dogs tended to spike in spring and summer.

“The seriousness of attacks has increased, with some hospitalisations of people and animals having to go to the vet,” he said.

“Last month, we had almost one attack per day and we are trending in that direction this month too.”

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He said the main causes were owners’ lack of understanding of their dog’s social skills, as well as dogs being off-lead in public. The majority of attacks occurred when dogs were unrestrained.

Mr Stirling urged owners to be more aware of their dog’s behaviour. Owners should understand their dog’s experience when interacting with other dogs and people, as well as their behavioural cues.

“Please train your dog, know your dog, and exercise caution with your dog in unfamiliar places – if it’s their first visit to an area, keep them on a lead a few times first,” he said.

He also warned owners to keep their dogs on a lead unless an area was signposted to say otherwise, because the council’s rangers were patrolling and could issue an on-the-spot fine of $1320 if a dog displayed aggression, or harassed or chased animals or people.

“A dog does not have to physically bite for it to be considered an attack,” he said.

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Meanwhile, the council has also said that timeshare arrangements for dogs on selected Eurobodalla beaches run from Tuesday (1 November) and last until 30 April, 2023.

This timesharing means certain beaches can only have dogs there before 9 am and after 5 pm, so no dogs can be on those beaches between those hours.

The shire has 18 timeshare beaches, including Mystery Bay, Kianga Main, the southern end of South Head, Malua Bay reserve, Denhams and the western end of Maloneys beaches.

But 29 areas still allow 24-hour off-leash access in the shire. The council has an interactive map showing the location of its timeshare beaches as well as dog-friendly ones.

Dogs are prohibited on all national park beaches.

For more information on the responsibilities of dog owners, visit the council’s pets page or contact rangers on 4474 1019.

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