Your dog = Your responsibility
  • Friday 04 January 2013

Sunshine Coast Council is calling on the community to help make our beaches, parks and foreshores safer for everyone and their pets. This follows an escalation in dog attacks on the Sunshine Coast this summer.

Acting Mayor Chris Thompson said council takes dog attacks very seriously and we need all residents to take responsibility in order to make a change.

"Unfortunately there has already been an increase in dog attacks reported to council this summer – 32 incidents in the past month – which we are investigating as a matter of urgency," he said.

"Council has ramped up our ongoing patrols throughout the region in an attempt to reduce the incidents of dog attacks.

"We continue to see many dog owners ignoring signs and the law by allowing their dogs to run off leash in on-leash areas. Council officers are on the beaches every day and since 1 December 2012 have issued 92 fines to dog owners throughout the region for having a dog off leash in an on-leash area or allowing a dog into a prohibited area.

"Council however can’t be everywhere at once.

"It is time for all residents to work together as a united community by practicing or encouraging responsible dog ownership and help to keep our local neighbourhoods and public spaces safe.

"If you experience or witness dogs acting aggressively towards people or animals contact council on 5475 7272, so we can investigate as soon as possible and take relevant action.

"And there’s no harm in politely advising your friend or neighbour at your local on-leash park or beach to pop their dog safely back on the leash."

Cr Thompson said dog owners need to take personal responsibility for their dogs first and foremost.

"Most attacks occur due to a lack of vigilance from the owner or the dog has escaped from an unfenced or poorly maintained yard," he said.

"Ensure your dog is contained securely on your property and not allowed to stray. ?

"When in public your dog must be walked on a leash.?In a designated off-leash area your dog must still be responsive and under your verbal command so it doesn't become a nuisance to others. ?

"Obey the sign or wear the fine."

Of the 32 dog attack incidents reported to council since 1 December, eight people have suffered dog bite injuries that have resulted in medical treatment, with three of those admitted to hospital overnight. A puppy, a cat, 10 guinea pigs and two ducks have been killed during this time as a result of being attacked by dogs. In addition 12 dogs, four cats, a bird and a horse have been injured in dog attacks. Three dogs have been surrendered to council and euthanised, two others have been seized and owners issued with destruction orders. Council is investigating all incidents with the intent to prosecute dog owners whose animals have been involved in these attacks.

Owners of dogs who are found guilty of attacking a person face a maximum fine of 300 penalty units or $30,000.