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Spike in dog attacks since pandemic restrictions imposed

News Article Date: 
Wednesday, 13 May 2020

The number of dog attacks in Warrnambool has increased since the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions.

Since the start of April there have been 16 dog attacks in Warrnambool, eight of which included people.

The number of dog attacks in 2020 is already on par with the number for all of 2019.

“Each attack has the potential for people and pets to be very seriously injured,” Warrnambool Chief Executive Officer Peter Schneider said.

“People must ensure their dogs are securely contained in their yards and if they are being walked, unless they are in a designated off-lead area, they must be on a lead.

“The main principle to remember is that your dog must be under your control at all times, including under voice control in an off-lead area.

“Our local laws officers are specially trained to respond to dog attacks but they are also placed at risk every time there is an attack.”

When a dog attack is reported, local laws officers will carry out an investigation which includes collection of evidence and interviewing victims, dog owners and witnesses.

Officers will typically follow up on reports made to police, doctors and veterinarians.

Pet registration fees go towards funding this local laws service.

“This is something no-one wants,” Mr Schneider said

“For victims, whether they are people or other dogs, there is physical pain and mental trauma.

“So we’re asking people to take extra care of their dogs, for the safety of other animals and the community.

“I would also like to acknowledge the work of our local laws officers.

“Responding to a dog attack is a challenge and people are understandably very emotional when it comes to their pets and for victims the experience of dog attack can be terrifying.”

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