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Police: Control your dogs

Two serious dog attacks in Deniliquin on Sunday have caused concern.

TYLA HARRINGTON December 17, 2013 4:55am

Two serious dog attacks at the weekend have prompted Deniliquin Police to reiterate warnings about owners being responsible for their pets.

Roaming dogs, one believed to be a pitbull breed, attacked and injured domestic pets in separate incidents in Deniliquin on Sunday, according to police.

A family dog being walked by a father and daughter was set upon about 8.30am, and three hours later a second dog was attacked inside a fenced property.

Deniliquin Police Inspector Peter Hayes says prosecuting owners is the only way to send a clear message that dog attacks ‘‘on animals or people’’ will not be tolerated.

Insp Hayes is urging dog owners to be vigilant, saying there are strict guidelines they must abide by for the safety of the community.

‘‘People need to make sure their dogs are secure,’’ he said.

‘‘When they are being walked they must be on a leash, and they must have a secure yard.

‘‘It’s when these attacks involve people, like a father and daughter, that people can get seriously injured.’’

About 8.30am on Sunday, a kelpie-cross was attacked in Harfleur St while being walked by a man and his daughter.

According to police, a pitbull charged at the pair and attacked their dog, which sustained gashes to its chest, face and rear leg.

The man was eventually able to force the attacking dog to flee.

Shortly afterwards, police attended a Fowler St home where a pitbull was allegedly found with blood stains on its chest.

Police allege the dog is unregistered and said Deniliquin Council would be investigating the incident.

Later that morning, about 11.30am, a Staffordshire bull terrier and a kelpie-cross allegedly dug their way into the backyard of a Poictiers St home and attacked a family dog. The owner told police he heard the attack and was able to rescue the pet.

Police were unsure of the extent of the dog’s injuries but confirmed Deniliquin Council was notified about the incident. It is not known who owns the two dogs.

‘‘If people don’t keep their dogs secure a person can be charged and put before the court,’’ Insp Hayes said.

‘‘We know when children are involved it can end in tragedy, as we’ve seen earlier this year.’’

The consequences of a dog attack were painfully highlighted on August 4 this year, when Deniliquin two year-old Deeon Higgins died after being set upon by a family member’s dog in the back yard of a Victoria St home.

His death and similar incidents across the nation around the same time prompted a review of the Companion Animals Act, particularly regarding the ‘dangerous’ classifications.

The review recommended a new ‘menacing dog’ category last month, which enables authorities to monitor a dog before it is classed as ‘dangerous’. A dog is classed as dangerous after it attacks or repeatedly threatens.

NSW Local Government Minister Don Page and Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson set up the Companion Animals and Dangerous Dogs Taskforce.

Those who continue to disregard the act and dog control legislation can face fines and court penalty charges such as:

Up to $44,000 for owning or being over 16 years-old and being in charge of a dog that attacks a person or animal;

Up to $55,000 and four years imprisonment for owning or being over 16 years-old and being in charge of a dog that attacks a person or animal, if the incident occurs as a result of a reckless act or omission;

Up to $77,000 and five years imprisonment for owning a classified dog that attacks a person and the incident is the result of the owners failure to comply with controls on the classified dog;

Up to $77,000 and five years imprisonment for a person who urges a dog to attack a person or animal.

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