Dog attacks rife in this Northern Rivers shire
THE dog attack rate in Ballina was nearly four times the state average according to newly-released figures by the NSW Office of Local Government.
On average, 9.6 people reported an attack per 10,000 dogs in the Ballina Shire between July and September 2019, significantly higher than the state average of 2.3 people who reported an attack per 10,000 dogs.
There were four serious attacks reported in Ballina, requiring medical assistance or a hospitalisation.
Three cases requiring hospitalisation involved a blue cattle dog, a labrador cross and a border collie.
The blue cattle dog was euthanised after biting a lady on the thigh in a Ballina laneway.
The labrador cross entered a house in Lennox Head, killed a cat and injured two people in the house. The dog's owners were issued with a $1320 fine.
The border collie attacked an 11 year-old boy on the leg. He was delivering pamphlets in Ballina.
The remaining attacks affecting 10 people in total did not require medical treatment.
The worst-affected suburbs were Ballina with nine attacks reported, Alstonville with six, Lennox with three and then Wardell with two.
In neighbouring local government areas, dog attacks were less of an issue.
In Lismore, 4.2 people were attacked per 10,000 dogs, in Byron and Richmond Valley the attack rate was 1.7, and in Kyogle and Tenterfield no attacks on people were reported.
RSPCA spokesman Alistair Hill said socialisation, particularly in the early stages of a dog's development at six to 12 weeks of age, was critical in preventing bad behaviour and attacks.
"A lot of people will get a puppy at eight weeks, and hide them away until they've had all their vaccinations," Mr Hill said.
"Getting them out for puppy preschool at about 10 weeks is really important."
He added that proper fencing also prevented attacks.
Ballina Shire Council provides a number of off-leash areas. Dogs can exercise, roam freely and socialise under the supervision of their owner at Bicentennial Gardens, Ballina, Compton Drive, East Ballina, Gap Road, Alstonville, Seven Mile Beach, Ballina Heights Estate, Headlands Drive Drainage Reserve at Skennars Head and The Spit, Ballina.