Animal Management Officer patrol parks and reserves during the day and occasionally after hours specifically during the day light saving period. The Officers ensures that park users can enjoy the facilities and that animal owners are complying with State and Local Law requirements. While patrolling these parks the officers are able to provide guidance and education to park users and animal owners.
Local Laws relating to nuisance
An occupier of premises must keep any animal on the premises in a kennel, house, aviary, shelter or other enclosure that complies with all of the following:
Every person who is in a public place and for the time being has care of a dog must carry and produce upon demand by an Authorised Officer, the means of picking up and removing any faeces that may be deposited by the dog
The person must also remove and hygienically dispose of faeces deposited on or in a public place by the dog in their care.
A person who keeps any animal must keep the animal in a manner that does not cause a nuisance to any person.
Animal nuisance may include the following::
where the animal makes noises or odour that unreasonably adversely affect the peace, comfort or convenience of any person on any other premises; or
where the animal produces an unreasonable accumulation of excrement, whether on the keeper’s premises or on any other premises.
Of concern is the number of alleged attacks that are not reported to Council at the time of the event which can limit the investigation particularly in clearly identifying the dog involved.
Any negative interaction between a person who is, by their nature, scared of dogs (particularly large dogs) can be perceived by that person as an attack. People are not trained on how to react to an aggressive dog and by running away or attacking the dog, as a defensive reaction, can escalate the event to cause the dog to attack.
There are certain breeds of dog which as more territorial and are more likely to defend a property or owner particularly if left unsupervised.
Regardless of the size of the dog, whether a small poodle or a large German Shepherd, all dogs are capable of defensive aggression. The RSPCA endorses “Breed Not Deed” education which encourages people to be careful around all breeds of dogs. Children, in particular, should never be allowed to tease or provoke any animal and should never be left unsupervised around pets.
Any dog can bite and it is the owners responsibility to properly train, socialise contain and control the dog which will reduce the incidences of dog attack. Evidence suggests that desexing a dog will reduce its aggression and will also improve the dog's health and make it more affectionate and less likely to stray. Desexing also prevents unwanted canine pregnancies and pet overpopulation.
Experience and research shows that all dog attacks can be traced back to failure by the owner to properly train and socialise the dog, and to owner ignorance, neglect, abuse and sometimes failure to comply with existing dog management laws. Some dogs have also had bad experiences with people and can be sensitive around those who they identify as threatening such as tradespeople, young people on skateboards, etc. It’s the owner’s responsibility to be aware of this.
Dog attack reports
It is difficult to accurately measure the actual number of dog attacks as defined in legislation which have occurred in the municipality. An analysis of the reported details and subsequent officer investigation into the reported attacks for year 2012 has shown the following: