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Four-legged fellows wreaking havoc across Perth

Vanessa Vlajkovic, ECU Daily Reporter

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Dogs, so innocent and adorable … or so it seems. Over the course of 2017 there has been an average of five dog attacks per day across Perth.

According to City of Cockburn Rangers and Community Safety Manager Michael Emery almost 12% of the City of Cockburn rangers’ jobs are associated with dog attacks.

As indicated by the cute photo of Edi, the Chihuahua, most dogs don’t come across as harmful — they are very good at charming people with their cuddly appearance.

However, inside some dogs lurks an aggressive trait that, when unleashed, can be dangerous.

Vet and animal behaviourist Dr Kate Lindsey, told the ABC that there a multitude of reasons why dogs attack: “The three factors that drive any behaviours are genetics, environment and experience.”

She said that the breed of a dog does not necessarily impact on the likelihood of them attacking, “Aggressive behaviour can occur in any breed, just like aggression can occur in any person, given the right circumstances.”

Dr Lindsey claims that environment and experience are both factors in a dog’s behaviour. Hence, why many dog owners turn to dog trainers to instil good behaviour in their pets.

Del Fisk, owner of Alert Dog Training, believes training is a positive experience for dogs.

“All dogs benefit from training. It builds a bond with the owner and increases confidence in the owner. Dogs look to us for leadership, direction and guidance,” he explained.

ECU Daily spoke to Peta Rule who runs @zeusygram, an Instagram account dedicated to her pug, Zeus.

While Ms Rule is not a professional veterinarian or dog behaviourist, she said that: “I am an advocate for dog ownership and am active in dog owning communities in the City of Vincent.”

“Being a responsible owner is far more complex than it needs to be,” she said.

Ms Rule believes that proper etiquette around dogs in public can be a way to reduce attacks, especially on children: “My plea to parents is to teach their children from a young age to always be weary of dogs, and always ask before patting.”

Adnan Catak, shared with ECU Daily the story of his younger sister Sabrina’s encounter with an American Staffordshire dog in 2012.

“Emotionally she was affected for about 3 years and then we got her a dog to cope with it,” Mr Catak said.

“Physically she ended up with a large scar under her left eye, which is slowly but surely fading,” he concluded.

Local councils have received criticism from members of their communities in response to the repercussions for dog owners after attacks.

Last year, Perth Now reported that councils have admitted it is, “often impossible to identify dog owners after an attack.”

The Sunday Times conducted a survey of 13 councils in regard to dog attacks over 2015/16 and found that of the 2124 reported incidents only 49 prosecutions came from this.

The Shire of Mundaring prosecuted the highest number of dog owners, 17.

However, they still expressed that they had issues in prosecuting, as witnesses were not prepared to go to court.

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Quality journalism by ECU students
Four-legged fellows wreaking havoc across Perth