Vets join community push for mandatory dog training

Dangerous dog

Is it time to crack down on dangerous dogs? Have your say by filling in the adelaidenow survey.
Source: AdelaideNow

A DOG has bitten a man on the hand in the northern suburbs, in the latest in a spate of serious attacks that have prompted calls for mandatory training for all breeds.

The incident happened at Portland Rd, Elizabeth East, just before 10am.

He was taken to the Lyell McEwin hospital with minor injuries.


The latest dog attack comes a day after dog behavioural expert and Australian Veterinary Association spokeswoman Doctor Kersti Seksel said she supported mandatory training because dogs that were taught “good manners” were less likely to offend.

Almost 60 per cent of more than 1400 respondents to an  adelaidenow survey yesterday said dog training should be compulsory.

A further 21 per cent said training should be mandatory for specified breeds.

Respondents also resoundingly blamed either the owner or circumstance for attacks, not the animal.

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The survey was in response to a number of serious attacks in the past month including:

A ONE-YEAR-OLD german shepherd cross attacked and bit a woman and her silky terrier on Monday after escaping from its Hope Valley backyard.

A PITBULL bit a woman and her cocker spaniel-cross at Hallett Cove on Sunday.

A MASTIFF-CROSS killed a small shih tzu and bit the arm of its owner last month at Flinders Park.

AN AUSTRALIAN bulldog bit the nose off a nine-year-old boy as he peered over a fence in Port Lincoln last month.

The State Government is reviewing its dangerous dog legislation, but is yet to seek community input.

More than 80 per cent of respondents to the adelaidenow survey said dogs should be on a leash at all times while on public streets, and almost 35 per cent said an owner whose dog bit a human should be fined.

Dr Seksel said mandatory training would be helpful in preventing dog attacks.

“I think dogs who are well mannered – and that is what we are talking about with training – that can be really useful,” Dr Seksel said.

“Having some sort of formal qualification or training is a really good thing.”

Dog and Cat Management Board executive officer Ben Luxton said councils offered owners registration discounts of up to 10 per cent if their dog was trained.

He did not rule out introducing mandatory training, but said it would be hard to implement.

The latest available figures show that there was a total of 1267 reported dog attacks during the 2010-11 financial year – of which 471 were on  humans.

Most of those surveyed also said dog breeds known to be aggressive such as American pitbulls should be banned. But Dr Seksel said banning particular breeds did not work.

Under the Dog and Cat Management Act of 1995, if a dog harasses or attacks without prompting by its handler, the owner faces a maximum $2500 and a likely destruction order on the animal.

In a response to questions from The Advertiser yesterday, Minister Paul Caica said any changes to existing laws would be done in consultation with the community and local government.

Daniella Laforgia, of Dulwich, said owners must understand and really look after their dogs.

“I think training your dog from the start is a good thing to do, whether it’s through an obedience school or constant training at home,” the owner of Arnold the great dane said.


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