Dog owners could face fines of up to $1300 as Murray River Council increases patrols to ensure compliance with the Companion Animals Act.
The push comes after an increase in the number of reported dog attacks over the past 12 months.
Council officers have said there is an ‘‘increasing trend’’ in dog attacks on stock throughout its area, which they say is leaving already suffering rural communities devastated.
‘‘Council officers have attended several sites recently where unrestrained dogs have attacked stock with varying degrees of severity, including minor injuries not requiring veterinary intervention, to major injuries and stock deaths,’’ council general manager Des Bilske said.
‘‘Officers have also noted several cases where unrestrained dogs have rushed at people and other animals in public areas.’’
Mr Bilske said a key part of the Companion Animals Act is that ‘‘the owner of a dog must take all reasonable precautions to prevent a dog from escaping from the property on which it is kept’’.
‘‘When away from the property on which the dog is kept, the dog must be under effective control by a competent person, at all times by way of chain, cord or leash attached to the dog and being held by person/owner of that animal,’’ the Act reads.
‘‘Owners of dogs who rush, attack, bite, harass, or chase any person or animal, regardless of whether or not an injury is caused, are legally responsible for damages incurred and face penalties of $1320 per offence.
‘‘Owners of stock may lawfully seize or destroy a dog, if that action is reasonable and necessary for the protection of stock or person from injury or death.’’
Council rangers will be increasing patrols throughout the council area in an effort reduce incidents, and are seeking help from dog owners in containing dogs to their property.
If you witness any dog attacks or would like further information visit here or phone a council ranger on 1300 087 004.