City of Mandurah takes tougher approach to dog attacks

Eileen Beitmanas suffered a broken arm after she was knocked over by a dog that mauled her dog Milo in June last year.
Eileen Beitmanas suffered a broken arm after she was knocked over by a dog that mauled her dog Milo in June last year.

The City of Mandurah is keeping its promise to take a tougher approach on dog attacks.

The City prosecuted four dog owners in the past two months and local dog owners are being warned to contain their animals.

The Mandurah Mail last year reported there had been more than 600 reported dog attacks in Mandurah over the previous two years but the City had not prosecuted a single offending pet owner.

During August and September, the City initiated four prosecutions in the Mandurah Magistrate's Court, three of which resulted in hefty penalties for the dogs' owners. A fourth prosecution has been adjourned until next month.

"The nature of these attacks were very serious, all resulting in harm to people and other animals," City chief Mark Newman said.

"The City is committed to taking tougher action on dog attacks, and the recent prosecutions and an increase in infringements demonstrate how seriously we take these matters."

In 2019-20, the City completed seven successful prosecutions for dog attacks and issued 474 infringements and 1212 cautions for dog wandering offences. This compares to 236 infringements and 1117 cautions the previous year.

Penalties of up to $20,000 or 12 months imprisonment may be imposed under the city's Dog Act 1976.

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Mr Newman said with close to 90 percent of dog attacks occurring where a dog is off lead, it was a timely reminder for dog owners to know their responsibilities when caring for their pets.

"Wandering dogs who are off lead or have strayed from an unsecured property could pose a risk to the community of a dog attack," Mr Newman said.

"The City is working hard to reduce the incidence of dog attacks and stepping up our approach, and we need dog owners and the wider community to help us.

"Most if not all dog attacks we see within the community are preventable, so we strongly urge dog owners to contain and keep control of their pets at all times to avoid these horrible attacks, many of which can have long-lasting impacts on the victims."

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The City's approach to reducing dog attacks includes both extensive public education, and enforcement elements, with enforcement actions having significantly increased over the past two years.

The Rangers team has increased proactive patrols of all public areas including streets, beaches and reserves.

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Some helpful tips for responsible dog ownership are:

  • Dogs must be on a leash in all public places, unless in an approved dog exercise area
  • Help reduce wandering dogs by making sure all fences and gates are secure
  • Ensure all dogs have up-to-date registrations, and are wearing identification tags
  • Report any uncontrolled or wandering dogs to Rangers on 9550 3777
  • Microchip your animal so if it does become lost or wanders, it's easier for Rangers to return the animal to you

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