Dog attacks prompt plea to owners

Published: Tuesday, 2 April 2019 at 1:39:00 PM

Dog attacks prompt plea to ownersWith more than 100 dog attacks reported to rangers each year, the City of Albany is appealing to dog owners to take more responsibility for their pets after a successful prosecution last week.

Uncontrolled dogs pose a risk to community safety and in the event of an attack, can attract significant penalties for its owner and result in the dog being declared dangerous, or destroyed.

In Albany Magistrate’s Court last week, the owner of a dog which was declared dangerous after an attack in early 2018 faced a charge of Dog Attack by a Dangerous Dog following a second attack in November last year.

The owner had the dog destroyed shortly after the attack and received a fine of $1,200 after pleading guilty to the charge.

Ranger Team Leader Colin Hyde said dog attacks could result in serious injuries or even death to other persons, pets or livestock.

“Dog attacks are a very serious matter and dog owners need to take responsibility for the control of their dog,” he said. “We receive far too many reports of dog attacks in our community and the last thing we want to see is someone maimed or killed because of a careless dog owner.”

Under the Dog Act, rangers can issue an infringement of $400 to the owner or person in control of a dog at the time of an attack or pursue charges through the court that can result in a fine of up to $10,000, or a fine up to $20,000 if it is a declared dangerous dog.

Depending on the circumstances and outcome of an attack, police can lay additional charges.

“If you are the owner or a person in control of a dog, the Dog Act holds you responsible for its actions,” Mr Hyde said. “The potential outcome could be tragic and result in a far more serious penalty than a fine so we want to remind all owners to do the right thing.”

Owner responsibility includes ensuring dogs in a public place (except within a designated animal exercise area) are leashed or harnessed by a person capable of controlling the dog, or are securely tethered, and if running within an exercise area can be controlled on command.

They must be microchipped and fitted with a collar and registration tag, and owners need to make sure their yards can keep their dogs confined within the property so they do not wander and become a nuisance or risk.

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