Safety campaign targets dog owners

AlburyCity is launching an education campaign for dog owners, following a rise in the number of attacks by dogs on people and other animals across the city.

With the tagline, “What’s the Harm?”, the campaign encourages people to think about the impacts of dogs behaving badly.

For example, what’s the harm in letting a dog off its lead? Even mild-mannered dogs can become frightened or aggressive and cause harm to people or animals, or run on to roads and risk accident and injury.

Broadly, the campaign urges dog owners to:

* Ensure their dog is on a lead in public places and can respond to their command
* Ensure dogs cannot escape from enclosures
* Address behaviour concerns such as fence running, roaming and aggression
* Train and socialise dogs to decrease likelihood of fear, anxiety and aggression
* Always supervise children around dogs
* Understand dogs’ body language and learn to detect early signs of aggression
* Select the right dog for families and lifestyle

AlburyCity councillor Henk van de Ven said the campaign would call for people to report any bad dog behaviour to council.

“Heavy penalties can apply to those doing the wrong thing but we’d much rather encourage dog owners to do the right thing to protect the community, other animals and their own pets,” he said.

“It’s enormously distressing when dogs harm people or other animals but we can all work together to reduce the harm by following the rules, reporting bad behaviour to council and caring for our pets in a responsible way.”

Although dogs must be kept on leads in public places, council urges owners to take their pets to designated off-leash areas where dogs can safely enjoy the company of their owners and other dogs.

There were 39 dog attacks reported to the Office of Local Government database in 2017 compared to 33 in 2016.