October 31, 2012
SERIOUS dog attacks leading to hospital admissions are at a record high level, prompting calls for both owners and dogs to undergo training.
There were 230 attacks across South Australia last year, an increase of 35 on the previous year.
Last year’s figures are the highest since 2006, when there were also 230 attacks.
The figures, released by the Dog and Cat Management Board, rely on hospital statistics showing 63 of the attacks, or 27.4 per cent, involved children younger than nine and people were hospitalised for a total of 673 days, and 71 hours in intensive care.
Australian Veterinary Association spokeswoman Dr Kersti Seksel said owners of dogs which were considered a problem should undergo mandatory training as well as the dogs themselves.
“Some dogs are dangerous and we probably should not have them as part of the community especially as many people have no idea of how to identify their dangerous behaviour,” she said.
Berger and Co personal injury compensation law expert Emma Marinucci said owners of dangerous dogs should make sure they had insurance for their animals as part of their home and contents insurance.
“If people are attacked by a dog they can pursue their rights to compensation because the dog owner is responsible,” she said.
Dr Seksel said people should take dog management seriously, even though most would never bite.
She said the most important problem for people to identify in potentially dangerous dogs was anxiety, the cause of most attacks.
“They are living creatures, they have emotions, they feel pain, and there are a lot of reasons why they need to be managed,” Dr Seksel said.
The Dog and Cat Management Board also reported an increase in minor dog attacks on people not requiring hospitalisation, rising from 893 to 1023.
Martin McKenna, author of the dog behaviour manual What’s Your Dog Telling You?, said some breeds had been turned into killing machines and were likely to attack people.
“They are bred to get into a fight at any moment and when they are in a fight go on forever until death.”
Dog training expert Olivia Harvey said a healthy dog would give several warning signs before biting a person.
Article source: www.adelaidenow.com.au