Sunday night 5.15pm. The day's almost over and I probably should run the dogs around the block for a sniff a pee and a poop. Nelda's nearly 10 and a bit slow. She has a spinal injury from an off lead dog that bowled her over. Little Larry loves to spread his poop on a walk. No need to take the phone. Wont be long. Throw on my dog walk bag packed with poo bags head extra leads for lost dogs and a fold up ball throw stick.
"Come on Nelda!" I look over my right shoulder and Nelda's pinned to the ground by a dog. Where the hell did that come from? It looks like a large Siberian Husky or Alaskan Malamute. It all happens so fast and just doesn't seem real. Nelda breaks free, the dog backs off and I just know it is going to come at us again! This dog is serious.
I am screaming for help. Somebody please help us! At the same time I kick out at the dog & try to keep it off poor Nelda. In a brief moment, it backs away and comes back at Larry. Larry is screaming. I'm hitting & kicking and grab my ball thrower from my bag and whack it over the nose. It backs off.
By now neighbours are watching, have opened their gate and are calling me to come over. I am terrified to move in case it launches at me. We back away slowly. The dog walks up the street, wandering into homes. What seemed like an eternity, was probably about five minutes.
This dog was serious. This dog wanted to hurt my dogs. This dog gave no warning. We didn't see it coming. This was not a fight over space, toys or bones. This dog is potentially very dangerous. Kids walk their dogs around here. Mums with kids in prams, and dogs. All sorts of things run through my head.
Dog attacks happen all the time. You don't read about them in the paper unless a person is seriously injured or animal is killed. Yes, it's sometimes hard to track down owners and not all dogs are registered. So, why if we have tougher laws against so called "dangerous" dogs, are we still seeing so many attacks?
Put simply, people are not taking responsibility for what their dogs are doing. They have no skills in managing dogs. Laws alone will not resolve this problem. Action must be taken by our Government Leaders to ensure Councils have the resources, training and manpower to prevent dog attacks. Councils must follow through on community complaints, enforce leash laws and identify dogs that are potentially dangerous BEFORE they cause injury and suffering.
Did you know that one in three working Guide Dogs are attacked by off lead dogs? That's one attack every month on a working dog. Some of these dogs have to be retired.
Most dog attacks on animals and people are NOT reported. Just ask any vet how many animals they see injured by off lead dogs.
We have TV ads and promotional safety campaigns for booze, smokes & cars, why not dog safety? A portion of our registration fees should go to education!
Nobody wins when a dog bites! So, what can you do?
- Learn about dogs and manage yours. Take a class, or ask for help.
- Respect others - put your dog on lead. If you want to break the law fine, but leash your dog until you pass someone who has their dog on lead.
- If somebody asks you to put your dog on a lead, please do it! Don't argue with them. Their dog may be old, sick, frightened, been attacked before. Just do it!
- Report off lead dogs to your local council.
- Be proactive about community safety and dogs.
- Take a look at the Dogs in Need of Space website for support.
- Walk with others if you do not feel safe - start a walking group.
- Speak to your Local MP and lobby for a safer community
- Any dog can be dangerous! Any dog can cause injury!
So, what happened to the dog that attacked us? Don't know. It's still out there.