Barking mad: 76 dog attacks recorded in Ballina this year
A TOTAL of 76 dog attacks have been reported to Ballina Shire Council so far this year.
Councillor Sharon Cadwallader said she found out about an incident at Lake Ainsworth in late October via social media.
"Someone was bitten by a dog at Lake Ainsworth in the dog track on the way to the beach," she said.
"(The bite) went through two layers of clothing and the person had to get a tetanus shot.
"They had to go to the doctor (...) they were quite alarmed when the owner and the person with the owner just laughed.
"Yes, there are serious incidents of dog bites in that area. Incidents of dog bites are definitely up."
According to council data, from January 1 to November 2 this year, 76 dog attacks have been reported in Ballina Shire, with the highest reports in Ballina (16), Alstonville (13), Lennox Head (12), Wollongbar (9), West Ballina (8) and East Ballina (3).
Last January, the dog attack rate in Ballina was nearly four times the state average, according to data from the Office of Local Government.
In that period, council rangers issued 83 Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) for issues such as residents failing to prevent dogs from escaping, dogs not under control in a public place, dogs rushing and attacks, bites, harasses or chases any animal or person, or due to unregistered dogs.
In addition to these dog incidents this calendar year, the council has also responded to 170 dog collection requests, and 210 complaints for roaming dogs, 56 for barking dogs and 12 for dog defecation.
Unattended dogs can be impounded by council rangers.
The owner of any dog may be issued with a $330 fine for allowing their dog to be in the street and not on a leash.
Cr Cadwallader said coastal areas like Lennox Head and Ballina were becoming busier due to exponential growth and higher visitor numbers.
"The south end of Lake Ainsworth has become so popular with families, and companion animals have become more popular during the pandemic, so there are more dog owners around and a lot happened that is not reported," she said.
According to the OLG, there were 14,385 microchipped dogs in the Ballina local government area as of June 30, 2019.
Only in the April to June quarter of 2019, 19 people were attacked by dogs in Ballina Shire, with four cases deemed serious attacks.
Ballina Shire Council has a Companion Animals Management Plan available on its website.