Attacks prompt ‘covert’ patrols

A SPATE of dog attacks has prompted Stirling council to consider “covert” park patrols to catch owners who illegally let them off the leash.

After Stirling recorded 75 serious attacks in one year, councillor Tony Krsticevic moved a motion calling for a report on ways to better deal with off-leash dogs, citing concerns about attacks on “people, other dogs and fauna”.

The report’s come back and says the 75 attacks in the 2020-21 financial year resulted in someone suffering an injury. 

During that time 65 infringements were issued, 10 dog attack investigations were referred for prosecution to the magistrates court, and 10 owners got a caution. 

Infringements

There were another 17 infringements and 19 cautions issued to owners of angry but ineffectual dogs whose attacks did not cause injuries. 

There have been a lot of complaints about dogs off leash in parks and reserves like Star Swamp Bushland, impacting vegetation and fauna. Sometimes there are “multiple complaints” about dogs running rampant in one spot when everyone disobeys leashing laws.

Council staff have suggested a range of techniques to clamp down, from old fashioned increased patrols and “covert enforcement” at reserves, to high tech digital tracking to analyse trends of where the most breaches are happening.

Councillors vote on the report and the five-point plan for stricter enforcement at the August 16 council meeting.

There’s about 21,000 dogs registered in Stirling and they don’t want to crack down too hard, noting that dog walkers are generally pretty good for neighbourhood security. 

by DAVID BELL

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