Dog owners are being urged to take extra precautions when securing their dogs in their property and when out for a walk following an increase in dog attacks reported to local councils.

There were 17 dog attacks reported to Hills Shire Council in June compared to 11 dog attacks reported in the same month, the previous year. Two people were hospitalised during a spate of dog attacks in the Hills between March and May this year and five others needed medical treatment. Council said the 48 reported attacks between March 1 and May 31 this year represented a 27 per cent increase on the number of reported dog attacks during the same time frame last year. Hawkesbury City Council had 26 dog attacks reported between the same period, March 1 to May 31. A range of action has been taken including the issuance of Infringement Notices, Nuisance Orders, Declarations of Menacing and Dangerous Dogs.

A spokesperson for Hills Shire Council said: “Council is mindful that during the pandemic there are more people than usual on our recreational network.

“Council encourages owners to practice responsible pet ownership and to ensure their dog/s are adequately secured in their property. This means that there are no holes or gaps in fences and that they are also high enough to prevent breakouts. Dogs should also remain on a leash while out in public.

“In off-leash areas owners must be over the age of 16 and have full control of and clean up after their pets.”

A spokesperson for Hawkesbury City Council said If a person is chased, harassed, bitten or attacked by another dog, it is generally recommended to:

• remain calm
• do not move
• fold arms in front
• keep eyes constantly on the dog
• remain silent as yelling will increase the dogs aggression/drive.

If you have seen a dog attack a person or an animal, or been attacked by a dog yourself, irrespective of whether the attack happened on public or on private property, you should report it immediately to council.

Both councils are encouraging owners to ensure their dog is registered before six months of age unless exempt. The registration fee is a once-only payment, which covers the dog for its lifetime in NSW, regardless of any changes in ownership.

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