Dog attacks rife in City of Swan

Henley Brook’s Robert, Val and Peter Kozac are grieving the death of their dog following an attack.
Henley Brook’s Robert, Val and Peter Kozac are grieving the death of their dog following an attack.

WARNING – this story contains graphic content that may upset some readers.

AT least one dog attack or threatening incident occurs in the City of Swan each day — many resulting in serious harm to humans and their pets.

There were 431 incidents reported to City of Swan last financial year, and in the first quarter of this year there have been 114 reports.

By comparison, City of Cockburn, which has about 18 per cent less residents than City of Swan, recorded about half the amount of attacks than Swan — 235 compared to 431.

Details of disturbing attacks have surfaced in Ellenbrook and Henley Brook recently.

In one instance, a family’s ten-year-old dog had its jaw completely ripped off by a larger dog and later had to be put down.

Another attack saw a man get his leg bitten when he tried to stop an unleashed dog mauling his dog, resulting in a $2000 visit to the vets.

Prosecution

City of Swan says it will continue to investigate reports of dog attacks but a grieving resident says not enough is being done to prosecute irresponsible owners.

“We don’t want money, we just want justice,” said Henley Brook’s Peter Kozak, who claims his neighbour’s dog broke his fence and bit the jaw off his family’s 10-year-old Papillion Astroboy.

Mr Kozac said he was City of Swan officers told him there was not enough evidence to prosecute the owners.

A letter from the City said there was no witness and it was not clear whether either dog had entered private land without consent

Mr Kozak said the outcome is inadequate.

“What does it take for (City of Swan) to do something about it? Does a dog actually need to kill a person,” he said.

The City has prosecuted three dog owners for a number of dog attack offences in the last 12 months.

The most significant prosecution was in July when Bellevue man was fined $15,000 for his dog’s attack on another person.

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Attacks continue

Despite the prosecutions, reports of apathetic owners and aggressive dogs continue on local social media pages.

In Ellenbrook earlier this month, Lee Renton had to fend off two off-leash dogs from an attack on his dog Bodhi and in the process collected a bite to his leg.

“I had a deep puncture wound on my thigh which required stitches and antibiotics – I still haven’t regained feeling where the dog bit down,” Mr Renton said.

“(Bodhi’s) skin was pulled away from his body and had several long deep gashes and puncture wounds, he required many stitches and drains to remove fluid and prevent infection and was in a lot of pain.”

Mr Renton urged owners of more aggressive dogs to muzzle them and to put them on a lead.

“It’s not worth the pain you inflict on others or yourself and the possibility of having to put your pets down,” he said.

Last financial year in Ellenbrook, there were 79 reported attacks and in the first quarter of 2015-16 there were 19 reports of dog attacks.

Swan chief executive Mike Foley said dog attack reports related to about 3.5 per cent of the Community Safety Advocates Team’s requests for service.

He said it was difficult to say whether Swan had a problem without comparing with other local governments.

The local vet

Local vet Barry Odesnik said he did not believe there had been an escalation in attacks.

“It has always been a problem,” Dr Odesnik said.

“The biggest issue is that people are very often in denial about how reactive their dogs are.”

“A dog is a dog and they should always be supervised carefully. Any off-lead activity needs to be monitored, particularly in areas where dogs are allowed to be off-lead.”

“Most people, particularly with large breed dogs, dogs bred for fighting or dogs that are not properly socialised are in denial that their dogs pose a problem.”

“However, the smaller dogs can be equally aggressive and provoking to the larger dogs so it goes across the board and everybody should be aware of their dogs temperament and take responsibility for that.”

Peter Kozak’s story – Henley Brook

“Our dogs were barking at the fence and their dogs were barking at the fence as they normally do but their dogs managed to push three of my fence slats out.

It was just enough room for the (neighbour’s) dog to stick its head through.

They were barking and snapping at each other, and (the neighbour’s dog) just snapped the bottom jaw off our dog.

We just heard this almighty screech and just saw it bolt.

It took us about 20 minutes to find him hiding under a cupboard. My son just puked on the spot when he saw what had happened.

The amount of blood took me about 40 minutes to clean.

I took Astroboy to the vet and they had to put him down — there was just nothing they could do because the whole bottom jaw was just missing.

I want to (City of Swan) change their laws so they can do something about these dog attacks. There is far too many of them.”

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Lee Renton’s story – Ellenbrook

“Two dogs appeared out of the bush and came up to my dog, they were sniffing him and he growled and warned them off then they attacked, both overpowered him and started biting him and pulling him from two directions.

I tried to grab their collars and pull them off but they wouldn’t let go.

Bodhi was wincing in pain and they weren’t going to stop so I started hitting them as hard as I could and yelling at them to stop, they would not stop.

I got one off eventually but was bitten on the thigh in the process, the other was still attacking Bodhi when finally the owner arrived and called him off.

The owner asked if I was okay and I of course said no and that I had to get my dog to a vet.

I asked for his number which he gave but in the chaos I didn’t save it on my phone.

He also said that they’d done it before but they were clean and vaccinated, like that makes any difference.

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