Ballina records highest number of dog attacks in region
BALLINA Shire reported 97 dog attacks last reporting year - the highest number in the region.
Lismore recorded 74 incidents, while there were 53 in Tweed, 34 in Byron, 28 in Richmond Valley and nine in Kyogle.
But attacks have dropped in Ballina since 2011/12, when 113 reports were recorded.
The trend is expected to persist as Ballina Shire Council continues to take steps to lower attacks.
The council's acting manager of public and environmental health, Kerri Watts, said the actual number of attacks was likely higher, but some incidents went unreported.
"We've got a great deal of education going on with dog owners as part of our Companion Animals Management Plan," she said.
"And now The Spit has become an off-leash park and people are taking their dogs there, that's been working very well.
"We're really trying to educate owners to encourage them to keep their dog under control and on a leash when necessary.
"But it's important people report attacks so we know if there's a pattern of aggression in a particular dog."
Ms Watts noted attacks on humans only comprised about 10% of the 97 attacks in the local government area.
"The attacks are generally on other dogs or cats," she said.
"We've had attacks where animals are seriously injured or killed.
"We found the attacks come from many different breeds and attacks mostly occur in residential areas, because dogs are protecting their territory."
Despite the dangerous nature of attending attacks, Ms Watts said the council was "very lucky" its rangers avoided injury in the reporting year.
If you feel threatened by an aggressive dog, remain calm, move slowly and keep an eye on the dog's movements, but avoid direct eye contact. Do not engage with the dog and call your local council for help.