Safe dog keeping takes a real mauling
NOOSA Council enforcements officers are investigating 11 dog attacks reported in just nine days as the local court gets serious with owners whose uncontrolled pets are savaging people and animals.
Acting local laws manager Phil Amson is almost incredulous at this sudden spike in vicious and unprovoked incidents after a council crackdown early last year in response to a similar spate of attacks.
Mr Amson said: "It's very annoying - just when you think you've made inroads...
"When we did our dog survey earlier in the year we were very buoyed by some of the stats that came back.
"We've got one of the highest, if not the highest desexing rates in the state.
"That's great, we think the responsible pet ownership message is getting out and then within weeks of that finishing we're faced with 11 dog attacks in nine days," he said.
Last Wednesday a local man was fined $1200 in Noosa Magistrates Court for a dog attack in which a man was injured at Sunshine Beach late last year.
He was also ordered to pay professional and court costs.
In April a woman was fined $500 after her dog attacked an animal at Sunshine Beach, while a Noosa Heads man received a $1000 fine for a dog attack on an elderly woman at Noosaville in December last year.
MR AMSON said in the Sunshine Beach case in April, the owner was walking dogs off lead and one was a large bull Arab breed well known for aggression.
"It's attacked a smaller dog and the dog owner came up and put the dog on its lead and walked off like nothing had happened.
"That's not the Noosa community, surely."
The dogs in question have been declared regulated dogs.
Mr Amson said that once they have that declaration it cannot be lifted, which means the owners must meet strict compliance and pay a hefty registration of $400 a year.
This has increased this financial year from the previous $257 fee.
"We have a vast range of powers that we can utilise in all these areas," he said.
"We don't want to have to - we want people to step up to the plate and do the right thing.
"They're all avoidable - not one of them was a case of that was bad luck," Mr Amson said of the attacks.
He said he spent 20 years in the police force as a dog handler.
"I know the damage an aggressive dog can cause in a very short time," he said.
"For people to do the wrong thing, it's shocking.
"People are just being slack.
"It's about responsible pet ownership and it can be as simple as making sure you close your gate to keep the dog from wandering the street, or by keeping it on a leash around other animals or people," he said.
Dog owners who let their pets wander also face fines in excess of $230, plus impoundment charges.