Escalation in dog attacks prompts Shire President to issue warning

Published on Tuesday, 21 December 2021 at 11:56:34 AM

A savage dog attack over the weekend in which two pedestrians were set on by a pack of dogs in Derby has highlighted a disturbing escalation in serious animal-control incidents Shire-wide. 

Derby/West Kimberley Shire president Cr Geoff Haerewa said two people sustained “significant injuries” in the weekend’s dog attack, which took place in Derby on Saturday night. The alleged dogs involved have all been seized, and although investigations are ongoing it is likely the case will proceed before the courts. 

“Over the last 12 months the Shire has seen a number of disturbing dog attacks on people and other dogs,” Cr Haerewa said. 

“In nearly all instances the attacks have been a result of irresponsible dog ownership.”  

Cr Haerewa said the Shire takes a hard-line “zero tolerance approach to any dog attack”, and where necessary would pursue court action rather than simply fining irresponsible dog owners. 

Earlier this year successful legal action against a dog owner saw the man ordered by the Derby Magistrates Court to pay a total $4200; a combination of hefty fines and repayments for the Shire’s legal costs.  

In that case one of the man’s dogs had attacked a local Derby woman walking past the property where the dogs were unsecured. The woman, who was pushing a pram at the time, sustained a significant bite wound to her leg which required multiple medical treatments.  

Cr Haerewa said there were “worrying” indications that some local dog owners were failing to learn the lesson of others. 

State legislation covering dogs and dog ownership stipulates penalties of up to $10,000 per dog, per attack. Cr Haerewa said the shire “would not hesitate” to seek these maximum penalties, and where necessary, ban irresponsible dog owners from owning another dog.  

“We understand that the community has had enough of irresponsible dog owners,” Cr Haerewa said. 

“The shire will continue to enforce the law on any dog owner whose dogs are found to inflict injury on any person or other animal. Owning a dog is a privilege, not a right. I wouldn’t want to see that privilege taken away.” 

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