Alarming spate of dog attacks – eight cases of attacks on people and other animals last weekend

Lachlan Roberts 11 May 2018 21

Eight cases of dog attacks reported over the weekend in the ACT.

Domestic Animal Services (DAS) rangers responded to eight separate reports of dog attacks that involved dogs attacking people and other animals last weekend (5-6 May).

All eight cases are currently under investigation with four of the cases occurring at ACT dog parks.

Since 1 January to 8 May 2018, the DAS has seized 71 dogs in relation to dog attacks, prompting the Director of City Presentation with Transport Canberra and City Services, Stephen Alegria, to issue a warning to owners to take more responsibility.

“It is every dog owner’s responsibility to ensure their pets are appropriately socialised, behaved, monitored and under effective control at all times,” he said.

“All dogs can be unpredictable and have the capacity to be aggressive and dangerous if they are not managed appropriately.

“Most dog owners do the right thing, however, all owners need to take responsibility,” Mr Alegria said.

In December 2017, the ACT Government introduced new legislation to help protect the community from dangerous dogs and to hold irresponsible dog owners accountable.

The legislation targeted dog owners who act irresponsibly by imposing greater fines and penalties, greater seizure and informant powers, and more effective provisions to reduce illegal breeding and increase compliance with mandatory de-sexing.

After the recent spate of dog attacks over the weekend, the ACT Government is reminding residents with dogs to be responsible pet owners.

“At the ACT’s six dog parks, users are reminded to use the appropriate small or large dog enclosure, to keep their dog under effective control and remove them if they become aggressive or bother other dogs,” Mr Algeria said.

“Dog parks are not the place to take poorly trained or unsocialised dogs.”

DAS investigates all attack and harassment complaints and considers all of the circumstances leading up to and during an incident.

Where a ranger identifies an attack has occurred, the attacking dog is seized whilst an investigation is undertaken. Dogs that are found to be at fault may be released on Control Orders or declared Dangerous with strict conditions imposed.

In more serious circumstances, where there is an unacceptable risk to public safety or other animals, the dog may be euthanised.

Advice and tips on Responsible Pet Ownership and using dog parks can be found at

All dog attack complaints should be reported to DAS via Access Canberra on 13 22 81. If an attack is in progress, the community is urged to contact ACT Policing on Emergency Triple Zero (000).

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21 Responses to Alarming spate of dog attacks – eight cases of attacks on people and other animals last weekend
Pee Emm Pee Emm 4:51 pm 14 May 18

Dogs that attack people or other dogs should get the needle. They are beyond help and it would teach the owners a hard lesson. I can't believe how soft the ACT is on dog attacks. I know the legislation has been strengthened but it still doesn't seem to be sinking in with irresponsible owners.

Rachel Ann Rachel Ann 6:30 pm 13 May 18

Hayley I’m not paranoid!

Rodney Weber Rodney Weber 5:16 pm 13 May 18

Don't blame the dogs, blame the owners!

Melanie Lindner Melanie Lindner 10:17 am 13 May 18

I'm upset every time I hear a story like this, but as a dog owner my response is always the same - if you cannot or will not take responsibility for the training, behaviour management and handling of your dog don't get a dog. It is not a breed issue - any dog may become dangerous / aggressive in a stressful situation and it's up to us as dog owners to train positive behaviours and recognise a potential issue and remove them from the situation before it escalates.

Julie Maynard Julie Maynard 10:07 am 13 May 18

I don't know how many times I've heard a dog owner, walking their dog off leash say, "oh but my dog is friendly". Then watch this said friendly dog attack a leashed dog. Not cool and ignorant. We always walk our dogs on lead - which is the freakin law I might add. As for dog parks, don't get me started!

    Lin Van Oevelen Lin Van Oevelen 12:44 pm 13 May 18

    There are plenty of unfenced off leash areas in Canberra. One of the great things about this place.

    But it's never ok to let your dog run up to a leashed dog.

    Julie Maynard Julie Maynard 4:28 pm 13 May 18

    Lin Van Oevelen no it's not. I'm okay with dogs off leash, if their owner is able to call them back when or if necessary. Too many owners have little control over their dog and that is a problem.

Fortress Epiphany Fortress Epiphany 9:15 pm 12 May 18

Please be careful of our darling boy Skye Rutherford, tell Matt about it please.

Alicia Barr Alicia Barr 7:42 pm 12 May 18

People need to get educated about dog body language and psychology so they learn when dogs are signalling discomfort or bullying behaviour. I teach this to all my puppy class attendance. I reccomend people watch the great dog productions YouTube channel for the at the dog park series which teaches people how to read inter dog behaviour

    Bek Clark Bek Clark 8:28 pm 12 May 18

    This is a great point

    If you know what to look for, you can de escalate and distract long before the growling starts

    Alicia Barr Alicia Barr 8:37 pm 12 May 18

    Yep and also I watch the human dynamics in these spaces.

    You get the people that don't walk there dogs anywhere else so the parks become places of hyper excitement and the dogs go to the same space every day so they start to get territorial about it.

    You get the owners that go and just play on there phone and ignore the dog while it runs amok or you get the people that go to gossip and they all mill around in a bunch which causes the dogs to bunch up.

    Through Canberra Puppy play dates group we work on a walking circle and try to keep the dogs having momentum when we all meet up.

    It's hard from a behavioural trainers perspective to go to these parks sometimes cause I can see the issues brewing but people don't want to think they are doing the wrong thing or that there pets are doing the wrong thing. Canine body language is very subtle and a dog may give 10 other signals to say leave me alone before they bite.

    The same goes for the people that go and just throw one ball for a dog in a large group of dogs it creates resource guarding aggression behaviours.

    Alex Manning Alex Manning 8:51 pm 12 May 18

    I find that the dog owners are worse than the dogs sometimes in terms of how they manage their dogs!

    Lin Van Oevelen Lin Van Oevelen 11:37 pm 12 May 18

    Dog parks made my dog's reactivity to other dogs much worse. And the main reason was dogs ignoring her body language completely (i.e. being rude) and the owners being either completely oblivious of it or - usually only after it started escalating - making a piss poor effort at controlling their dogs and then just giving up when they ignored them.

    I'm ok with my dog now not wanting to socialise with dogs she doesn't know. I can manage it. But I avoid dog parks like the plague.

    We're fortunate in Canberra that we have lots of unfenced off leash places. We use them daily without any issue.

    Alicia Barr Alicia Barr 11:48 pm 12 May 18

    Yes I can understand your frustration I watched a family the other day with a spoodle thing - it was asking for space from some bossy dogs and they ignored its insistence for help so the dog went to bite to really reinforce the other dogs to leave it alone and then the daughter started screaming at her dog to stop and then the father struck the dog and dragged it off a Meter away then told it off and let it go again. The other dogs backed off and left them alone not because they learnt to leave the spoodle but they wanted to avoid the humans :(

    Alex Manning Alex Manning 11:56 pm 12 May 18

    That poor dog!

    Alicia Barr Alicia Barr 11:57 pm 12 May 18

    I did say something I think they just thought I was a bossy jerk but I couldn't do nothing

    Alex Manning Alex Manning 12:03 am 13 May 18

    People are stupid.

    Alicia Barr Alicia Barr 12:05 am 13 May 18

    Not stupid just ignorant to trying to understand how animals communicate. It's also bad that we are so busy with work and our backyards are smaller and we are more crowded in on top of each other and we reward and excite our dogs and don't lead them well.

    Alex Manning Alex Manning 12:06 am 13 May 18

    Come on some of them are stupid too 😉😂

Domenic Fabbo Domenic Fabbo 7:41 pm 12 May 18

The responsibility lies with the ...............

Karla Berkeley Karla Berkeley 7:00 pm 12 May 18

This is why I refused to take my dog to dog parks. A good walk everyday he was happy..

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