The number of dog attacks in Canberra appears on the rise with a fourfold increase in investigations in just five years.
Figures from annual reports show investigations increased from 85 in 2012-13 to 389 in the last financial year. Nearly 160 dogs were seized pending an investigation this year alone.
A domestic animals service spokesman said the spike in dog attack investigations had several contributing factors, including changes in how dog attacks were defined from 2014 and the introduction of a simplified reporting system in 2015.
Annual reports show Canberra rangers conducted:
- 85 attack investigations in 2012-13, issuing six dangerous dog licences and seizing some dogs;
- 93 attack investigations in 2013-14, issuing eight dangerous dog licences and seizing some dogs;
- 245 attack investigations in 2014-15, issuing 11 dangerous dog licences and seizing 116 dogs;
- 360 attack investigations in 2015-16, issuing six dangerous dog licences and seizing 124 dogs, and
- 389 attack investigations in 2016-17, issuing 14 dangerous dog licences.
The domestic animal service had impounded 848 dogs as of November 17 this year alone. Of that, 158 dogs were seized pending an investigation into an attack incident and 24 were declared dangerous dogs.
"Domestic animal services investigates all attack and harassment complaints and considers all of the circumstances leading up to and involved in an incident," the spokesman said last month.
"Where a ranger identifies an attack has occurred the attacking dog is seized whilst an investigation is undertaken.
"All attack incidents are investigated and dogs assessed to be dangerous or otherwise."
He said the severity of the incidents varied from harassment that caused no injury to aggressive biting.
The number excludes dogs that can't be found. The spokesman was unable to say how many this included.
Dog attacks reported in The Canberra Times this year:
- November 14: A Canberra woman was left shaken after her Jack Russell, Evie was mauled to death by an off-leash dog. The search to find the it and the owner is ongoing.
- October 25: Canberra woman, Tania Klemke was killed by 'her best friend' in her Watson home. Police shot the animal dead after they were called by neighbours who heard a man at the property screaming for help.
- September 18: Three dangerous dogs are returned to an Amaroo home after killing a Cavalier King Charles named Daisy in July.
- September 2: Service dog Oreo was attacked in Narrabundah backyard while its owner was overseas. It's believed the dog had been returned to its owner after the attack and then surrendered to a shelter.
- August 6: A 12-year-old poodle, JP, was bitten on the neck and the head by two off-lead pit bulls while running with his owner.
- August 5: Two puppies, Lucky and Lady, survived a vicious mauling from three large dogs that jumped the fence of their Wanniassa backyard by crawling into the laundry via their dog flap.
- March 20: A police officer was bitten by a dog while attempting to arrest a dangerous driver at her home in Kambah.
- January 31: Thirteen-year-old Pomeranian, Buzz, dies after being attacked by three dogs on a public footpath at Yerrabi Pond.
The US embassy was linked to three separate dog attacks in the past 18 months, but investigations have been hampered by diplomatic considerations.
In addition to the statistics, The Canberra Times has been inundated with dozens of emails and phone calls about reports of dog attacks.
Han Nguyen reports on property for The Canberra Times. She joined the Times in 2017 after working as a breaking news reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald.