An increase in dog attacks has been confirmed by the City of Busselton following a community outcry on social media.
City of Busselton ranger and emergency services coordinator Ian McDowell said the number of dog attacks reported to the City had grown steadily in the past four years.
“In 2014 the City’s Rangers investigated 60 dog attacks compared to 117 in 2017,” he said.
“This is a disturbing trend with many of the attacks occurring as the result of irresponsible owners failing to securely contain their dogs on their property.”
On February 15, a Facebook post from Marlene Mccamish about her dog being attacked at the beach by an unleashed dog received close to 200 comments.
Ms Mccamish said the response proved how widespread the issue was.
“So many people feel like they can’t take their dogs down the beach because of what’s happening,” she said.
“It is a sad state of affairs if you want to walk your dog and a minority ruins it for everybody.
“It just comes down to common sense and the law – if you see another dog, regardless of whether you think your dog is friendly, put it on the lead, the bylaws state you have to be in 100% control of your dog, you can’t just let them run free and expect everyone on the beach to be okay with that.”
Mr McDowell said dogs were permitted off leash in approved dog exercise areas which included some of the City’s beaches, parks and reserves.
“When off leash, the owner is required to exercise effective control of their dog. Effective control means the dog must be in their sight and should immediately respond to voice commands,” he said.
“Owners of dogs that are found to be wandering at large or not under effective control are liable to a fine of $200.”
Mr McDowell said the City investigated all reported dog attacks, however, the outcome of the investigation was dependent on the available evidence
All dog attacks should be reported to the City’s rangers on 9781 0444.