Clarence a dog attack hotspot
AS Clarence Valley Council officers battle a spike in the number of dog attacks, figures have been released that show the Valley as the dog attack capital of the North Coast.
Statistics from the NSW Government’s dog attack registrar show the Valley leading the pack with 14 for the quarter ending in December.
The Valley was also top dog for the previous quarter with 13.
Clarence council environment and open spaces manager Peter Birch said there has been an increase in the number of dog attacks in recent weeks.
Council rangers have not been able to uncover the reason for the spike, but Mr Birch believes it could be related to the holiday period.
“At this time of the year a lot of people leave their dogs in the care of family, friends or neighbours, where they sometime don’t receive the level of care they normally get,” he said.
“This leaves the animal in a state of distress, where it might attack, especially if it views something as prey.”
He also said that rangers found about 40 per cent of the attacks reported during the last quarter came from dogs belonging to visitors to the area.
Mr Birch said a number of owners of dogs had reported dogs attacking while they walked their own animals.
The council’s records show that the dog breeds responsible for local attacks were the usual suspects.
“The dog breeds responsible for most of the attacks reflect the overall figures,” he said.
“It is the larger breeds like Staffies, cattle dogs or German shepherds that seem to be mostly responsible.”
He said the local figures did not show attacks by small dogs such as Maltese or Jack Russell terriers as being significant.
Coffs Harbour with 11, Ballina 10, Byron Bay 8, Tweed 8, Lismore 2 and Richmond Valley 0 were how the other local government areas ranked in dog attacks from September to December.
“Our figures and Coffs Harbour are almost identical with the number of attacks and the number of dogs registered,” Mr Birch said.
Mr Birch said it was hard for council to identify any trend in dog attacks because there was not enough data available.
“It’s only a year since the State Government ordered us to report all dog attacks to its dog attack register,” he said.
“Although we were the leading area in the North Coast this quarter and the one before, in the first two we hardly had anything.
“You look at a council like Cessnock, which has a few thousand more dogs than us and their number of attacks is double ours.
“There have been some bad attacks in the Valley involving children,” Mr Birch said.
“It’s traumatic for everyone involved and no-one is ever happy with the outcome.”
The Valley had 13,033 dogs registered by December 2009.Top 10 breeds
The top 10 breeds that figured in the most attacks in the past three months in NSW.
- Staffordshire bull terrier
- Australian cattle dog
- German shepherd
- American Staffordshire terrier
- Bull terrier (breed not identified)
- Jack Russell terrier
- Border collie
- Labrador retriever
- Bull terrier