A THIRTY-YEAR-OLD Ararat resident was issued with two infringement notices following a dog attack in Elizabeth Street, Ararat.
The two infringements from the attack on July, 10 totalled $590. The dog has also been declared a menacing dog by council.
A blue heeler dog jumped the front fence of the house and bit a female as she walked past delivering newspapers.
The lady's mother was also present and was able to safely remove her daughter into a car out of harm's way. Luckily the bite was not severe and only caused bruising to her lower leg.
Council Local Laws Officers immediately attended the address and seized the dog pending the outcome of the investigation.
Under the Domestic Animals Act 1994, dog owners are legally bound to confine their dogs to the property.
This means escape proof fencing, securely shut gates, and the provision of safe visitor access to the front door (ie. dogs must not be allowed to remain in an unfenced front yard).
Research has shown that the majority of dog attacks in public places occur on the footpath or road bordering the attacking dog's property, due to the dog not being adequately confined.
Owners of dogs seen wandering the street or in inadequately fenced properties may face on the spot infringements or impoundment of their pet.
Fines for a dog being at large during the day time are $221.00, at night the fine is $295.00.
In the event of a dog attacking a person or animal, owners are potentially liable for thousands of dollars in court fines and damages. In more serious cases, destruction orders may also be issued for attacking dogs.
Serious injury dog attacks are prosecuted directly to court, a dog attack resulting in minor injury can be resolved with an infringement notice to the value of $369.
Ararat Rural City Council Manager Risk Emergency Services and Local Laws, Matthew Wood said, with this particular case, the owner was issued with a $369 fine and also a $221 fine for not registering the dog.
"Council believe this action is necessary in terms of both community safety and animal welfare.
"Residents have the right to walk the street or exercise their own pets without fear of attack, and it's in the best welfare interests of all dogs to be safely confined and protected from potential car accidents, fights with other animals or theft.
"Ignorance of the law is no defence when residents are threatened or injured by unrestrained dogs.
"Dog owners complain that they didn't know they were responsible for their dog's behaviour when they face court action as a result of their dog's attack. Dogs are naturally territorial, no matter what breed they are. If they feel their property is being threatened, they will attack, " Mr Wood said.
Residents wanting more information on responsible pet ownership, can visit the State Government's Responsible Pet Ownership web site at www.dpi.vic.gov.au/pets, or call 136 186.
For more information regarding dog attacks contact Ararat Rural City Council Local Laws Department on (03) 5355 0911 or go to www.ararat.vic.gov.au.