High numbers of dog attacks calls for crackdown on owners
NOOSA Council is taking aim at careless dog owners in the wake of more than 50 dog attacks since January.
Local laws coordinator Phil Amson said often attacks occurred after dog owners failed to shut gates and doors to stop their dogs wandering.
"55 dog attacks is 55 too many. Unless dog owners take responsibility for their pets they can expect hefty fines and court action," Mr Amson said.
"We've issued fines or prosecuted in the case of each of the 55 attacks this year, and as long as calls about dogs roaming the streets keep coming, we will keep taking a hard line."
Council last month prosecuted the owner of three dogs that wandered more than a kilometre before attacking and injuring a cattle dog on private property at Cooroibah.
The three dogs' owner, one of two to face court, received a $2000 fine and was ordered to pay $342 in court costs.
The magistrate fined a Tewantin man $895 and ordered him to pay $342 in court costs for allowing his dog to wander.
"This is the third time council has taken action against this owner for failing to contain his dog so it was pleasing to see the magistrate send a strong message," Mr Amson said.
"In most cases of wandering dogs when we carry out checks on the owners' yards, the gates are working as they should - owners simply aren't bothering to shut them. It's frustrating."
Mr Amson said dog owners should take the recent court cases as a wake-up call.
"Wandering dogs attract fines in excess of $230, plus impoundment charges, and that's before any court action.
"Responsible pet ownership starts at home - close doors and gates and make sure fences are well maintained in order to stop your dog from roaming the streets, and keep dogs leashed around other animals and people," Mr Amson said.
"Keeping dogs under control in off-leash areas is also a concern. Dog owners need to ensure their dogs don't bother other people or animals. Make sure your dog understands verbal commands and comes back to you immediately when it's called.
"Off-leash areas are not a 'free for all' where complacent, inattentive owners can let their dog do what it wants to. The law requires owners to control their dogs and be responsible, even in off-leash areas. Off-leash areas are public areas too." Mr Amson said.
"It is every dog owner's responsibility to ensure their animal does not pose a risk to other people or pets."