Mandurah dog attack victim calls for beach zoning change

A Mandurah woman is calling for a change to Avalon Beach zoning and increased owner penalties after she was allegedly attacked in a non-dog area.

Last week, Local Government Minister David Templeman asked for community feedback on dog ownership legislation, after statistics revealed more than 1000 Mandurah attacks have been reported in the past five years.

Natalia, who does not want her surname revealed fearing abuse from dog owners, has lodged 82 animal complaints to rangers in the past 12 months.

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Natalia said she was scared for the safety of her children and self. 

“Nobody follows the invisible borders for on and off-leash zones,” she said.

“Signs are at the entry and dog owners ignore them, or say they didn’t know about them when confronted by a ranger – dogs are running all over the place.”

Why I should put up with dogs on a non-dog beach?

Mandurah resident Natalia

Natalia said she had met with City of Mandurah mayor Rhys Williams on two occasions about the issue.

“He said he would clear the beach and put fines up but nothings been done,” she said.

Natalia said she “absolutely agreed” on new legislation and changes around dog ownership. 

“I am asking for tougher laws on dog owners and family beaches where you don't feel constantly intimidated by running dogs towards you and your kids,” she said.

The City has issued cautions to the owners of animals that are identified and are not complying with legal requirements relating to dog on-lead or dog prohibited-areas.

City of Mandurah acting chief executive officer Graeme Davies

“Why I should put up with dogs on a non-dog beach?”

City of Mandurah acting chief executive officer Graeme Davies said rangers had responded to every complaint made by Natalia. 

“The City has issued cautions to the owners of animals that are identified and are not complying with legal requirements relating to dog on-lead or dog prohibited-areas,” he said.

“We continue our efforts to improve the community’s control of dogs and compliance with dog prohibited and dog on-leash areas.” 

Mr Davies said rangers had visited the beach 217 times in the past year.

“Our understanding is that Natalia wants Avalon closed to dogs completely,” he said.

“She is passionate about this, but the fact is that Avalon is also very popular with dog owners.

“It is important to note that while Avalon is a very popular place for dog owners to exercise their dogs, if they do not comply with the rules then this may put pressure on council to look to changing the designation.”