Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dog attacks are on rise

By Kelli Downy, Gladstone Observer

SIZE and breed is no factor when it comes to the state’s most menacing dogs.
Chihuahuas and pomeranians are on the list of the 100 most menacing dogs, officially declared by authorities under controversial new state laws aimed at slowing Queensland’s rising number of dog attacks.
Since the introduction of the laws last year, statistics show that only 110 dogs have been declared menacing across the state.
These menacing canines include larger breeds such as German shepherds, medium-sized breeds such as cattle dogs right down to the pint-sized offenders such as shar peis, chihuahuas and even a poodle cross.
However, authorities have predicted this number will soar as awareness of the new laws increases.
Locally, Gladstone Regional Council has declared seven dogs as regulated dogs under the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008.
These dogs are defined under the Act as either a declared dangerous dog, a declared menacing dog or a restricted dog.
Declarations which have resulted after the dogs had been involved in serious attacks on other animals, causing severe injuries or death.
Gladstone Regional Council Local Laws co-ordinator Sarah Kummerow said while the more common breeds that had been the subject of dog attack complaints included Staffordshire bull terriers, bull terrier cross breeds, Siberian huskies, cattle dog cross breeds, bull arabs and great dane crosses, it is important to remember that any dog of any breed or size has the potential to be a dangerous dog.
“During the 2009/2010 financial period Gladstone Regional Council’s Local Law Enforcement officers had cause to investigate a total of 162 complaints in relation to dog attacks,” Ms Kummerow said.
“Any person who is involved in an animal attack should contact council immediately.”
Four dog breeds are classified as Restricted Dogs in the Gladstone Regional Council area.
These include the dogo argentino, fila brasilerio, Japanese tosa and pit bull terrier (also known as an American pit bull terrier).
Dogs can be declared menacing under the new laws if they cause fear, which could include behaviour such as rushing at a person on the other side of a fence.
Once their animal is on the list, dog’s owner can be forced to take action, such as posting a Menacing Dog sign on their fence.
Local councils have been put in charge of administering the laws, however, concerns have been raised that 18 councils are yet to add a dog to the menacing list.
Residents can help curb the spate of dog attacks by reporting bad behaviour before it gets out of hand.

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