Despite the number of dog attacks and harassments that occur nationally finding reliable statistics for each state is difficult. The 1 out of every 5 attacks that do get reported are presumably lodged with a council. Considering the size of the problem, it’s surprising that annual statistics are not publicised more widely.

After conducting significant research, these are the most recently reported attack/harassment figures I could locate (see below for further details). If any councils in Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, Northern Territory & Western Australia would like to provide figures for 2015-16 I would much prefer to build a more accurate picture:

Adelaide Dog Attack Register - Australian Dog Attacks 15-16South Australia – 2,179 (2015-16)
New South Wales – 4,878 (2015-16)
ACT – 360 (2015-16)
Victoria – 4,466 (2015-16) – 53/79 councils
Perth – 2,124 (2015-16) – 13 councils
Queensland – 6,245 (2015-16) – 11 councils
Northern Territory – 216 (Darwin only)
Tasmania – 106 (Kingborough only)

Queensland councils:

Brisbane – 1,858 (2015-16)
Logan – 587 (2015-16)
Cairns – 720 (reports annually)
Townsville – 500+ (past year)
Sunshine Coast700
Gold Coast – 593
Moreton Bay – 743
Noosa – 55
Rockhampton – 78
(2015-16) attacks on people
Bundaberg – 411
Mackay – 491

If the NSW figures are correct, it makes South Australia (page 19) look particularly bad. NSW has 5 times the population (7.5 million) of South Australia (1.6 million) but only twice as many reported attacks. Queensland has a real problem. 1.5 million less people than NSW but 2,000 more attacks … from just 11 councils.


The Australian Veterinary Association estimates there are more than 100,000 attacks and harassments each year, the Dog & Cat Management Board believes that only 1 in 5 attacks get reported. If you total the figures in the map above it comes to 21,065 attack reports (if the quoted figures are correct). What the map REALLY shows is that the problem is bigger, probably much bigger than originally thought – figures for 260 councils are missing (Victoria 26, Tasmania 28, Queensland 66, Northern Territory 16 and Western Australia 124).

Dog & Cat Management Board chair Dr Felicity-Ann Lewis said:

“Unfortunately, our annual report shows dog attacks have reached a four-year high.”

Dog attack media reports from interstate (below), appear to consistently identify the same breeds and cross breeds that topped South Australian councils ‘breed destruction list‘ in 2014. However, DNA testing is the only accurate method of identifying a breed. A study conducted by a dog adoption agency found that 87.5% of dogs identified as having specific breeds in their ancestry did not have all of those breeds detected by DNA analysis.

In their 2012 policy and legislative framework, Dangerous dogs – a sensible solution, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) lists 4 reasons why breed specific legislation doesn’t work. If that is the case, why are 5 breeds restricted in Australia?

The same two breeds (and their cross breeds) are consistently identified as the cause of the majority of savage attacks in Australia, yet nothing is done about it. What’s the difference between the bite and strength of a Japanese Tosa and one of these breeds?

The answer is nothing, except one is easy to legislate, while the other breeds fall into the ‘too hard’ basket.

The AVA’s policy document also highlights the importance of a national register of dog bite incidents and mandatory reporting of incidents.

I have no idea if the national dog bite register was created or whether it’s still in development, it may make locating national statistics easier … but unless councils can get more than 20% of people to actually report attacks, the data it collects will be inconclusive.

Australian Veterinary Association spokeswoman Dr Kersti Seksel said:

It is estimated there are more than 100,000 attacks that leave more than 1400 people hospitalised every year, but until the full details are known there will be no meaningful progress on reducing dog attacks.

No meaningful progress on reducing dog attacks until full details are known … with councils only receiving reports for 1 in 5 attacks, how will full details EVER be known? Hence the title of this post, DO NOTHING – THE AUSTRALIAN SOLUTION.

In Switzerland, all dogs must be registered by a vet. This overcomes the issue of people registering their dog fraudulently (ie. a Kelpie cross that’s actually a Pit Bull). Dogs are registered with ANIS, the national pet database.

A damning report in Perth Now from September 2016 titled, Dog attacks in Perth: Over 2000 reported but councils unable to identify owners in most cases highlighted the problems that councils encounter:

  • Most councils admitted it was often impossible to identify dog owners after an attack.
  • There were also cases where dogs could not be located or their owners would not cooperate if their pet was suspected of an attack.
  • Many witnesses or victims do not wish to provide statements, information or take matters further.
  • Another issue is the amount of time it takes for dog attacks to be heard before the court, as this can lead to dogs being impounded for long periods of time and hesitation from those involved to continue with prosecutions.

One thing is certain, looking at the ten most popular dog breeds in Australia for 2017, the problem is only going to get worse; attacks like this will continue unabated (with the same unhelpful response from the Police and councils). 4,000 Australians will continue to be hospitalised each year as a result of dog related injuries.

RSPCA Victoria outlined this approach in their 2011 information paper

What is needed in Australia is a long-term commitment from State, Territory and local governments to move away from breed-specific legislation towards a preventative approach to dog attacks that is adequately resourced and includes both incentives for compliance and penalties for non-compliance.


New South Wales

Girl, 2, bitten in the face by two dogs in Sydney’s south
Family dogs responsible for most attacks, new research shows
 (151 hospitalised 17/18)
Girl 10, attacked by dog
Two-year-old girl victim of latest dog attack

NSW dog attack: rottweiler mauls baby girl to death

Dangerous dogs terrify neighbours: three hospitalised after attacks

Dallas ‘dog attack’ in Broadmeadow leaves teen in surgery, dog caged

Dog attacks in NSW: Lake Macquarie tops people attacked among Hunter councils
Another serious dog attack sees man bitten

Coffs Harbour proves a state capital for serious dog attacks
Woman stands for safety after her pooch gets attacked at Mosman beach

Council launches program to protect pooches as dog attacks rise
Cross-bred dingoes, kelpie-cross destroyed after attack on elderly owner

Campaspe still has pet problems (36)

We need to ban dangerous dogs

Blue Mountains dog attack: Two rottweilers seized after biting toddler

Blacktown Council ranger ‘savaged by dogs’ on camera

Police appeal after dog attacks woman at popular tourist attraction near Penrith

UPDATED: Police call for leads on vicious dog act

Dog attacks increase in Dubbo local government area

Dog attacks prompt call for Off-Leash Parks to be scrapped

Shelters are full of Pit Bulls for good reason

Support animal mauled by off-leash dog in Albury

Young girl, boy bitten as attacks spike

Pint sized surprise in attack figures

Safety concerns rising after multiple dog attacks in region

Dog attacks woman, owner lies to victim, flees scene

Rottweilers’ owner ordered to control pets a month before girl was injured

Teen mauled during dog attack in Rooty Hill

Bathurst dog attacks at four-year high

Three ‘ferocious’ dogs seriously injure woman in Sydney

Animal attacks worst in region

Irresponsible dog owners targeted after 547 attacks in past 12 months
Dog attack drove woman out of Neutral Bay

Willoughby man warns others after dog attack leaves Cavoodle requiring veterinary attention

Dog attacks on the rise in Moree shire

Menacing dog that mauled Sydney elderly woman had already been seized and stolen
Girl, 15 suffers serious injuries after vicious dog attacked without warning
Tradie mauled by three dogs at Kenthurst in horror attack
Hills Shire Council urges NSW Government to review dog attack statistics
Dogs that attack should be put down. Immediately (2015)
Five people, including two children, mauled in Hunter Valley dog attack
Dog attacks on the increase (2012 – Worst Offenders)
Two-year-old boy mauled by dog at South Coast home (2016)
Five-year-old girl’s face mauled by dog in Pendle Hill (2016)
Wollongong’s serious dog attacks jump 85 per cent
Wollongong dog attacks leap 48%: interactive map (2014)
Couple charged after dog attack in Sydney (2016)
Fairfield pensioner devastated after staffy attacks and kills Pomeranian
Savage dog attack leaves two hospitalised (2016)


Girl, aged 14 months, mauled by a dog in central Victoria dies
Ballarat water meter reader attacked by vicious dog on Humffray Street North

Jack Russell Snoopy was dragged off his owner’s lap and mauled
 (Ballarat 137)
Casey council statistics show 215 dog attacks, 65 against people and 150 against other animals
 (Casey 215 attacks)
‘I will never have a dog again’ | Owner traumatised by fatal dog attack

Shire in hunt for attack dogs

Boy attacked by dog in Gippsland

Dog seized after weekend attack

Owner ‘walked away’ after dog attack on gran

Witnesses wanted to dog attack

Girl, 10, ‘tossed like a rag doll’ in savage dog attack

Dog euthanased after attack on 10yo girl at Melbourne home

Hell of Australia Day at Lake Burrumbeet leaves campers cold

Dog attacks on the rise (163)

Savage dogs attack family pet on leash

Woman attacked by two dogs in Belmont, left with a suspected broken arm

American bulldog Jack mauled in own Gisborne backyard

Dog attacks and complaints over animals on rise in Hume

Increase in dog attacks in Melbourne CBD

Of the 85 dog attacks reported in Bayside this year, 25 of them involved humans

Brighton East dog attack leaves man with 40 stitches, huge neck gash as owner flees scene

Woman speaks out after dog attack in park near One Tree Hill

Spate of dog attacks a concern for Ararat council

Geelong’s dog attack stats as cavoodle, teen boy among latest victims

Geelong Court: Council cracks down on dangerous staffies
Geelong dog attack leaves 67 yo needing plastic surgery, and his beloved poodle in intensive care
Witnesses wanted to dog attack
Dog attacked at popular area
Dog attacks most common in Melbourne’s northern suburbs (2015)
Controversial breed-specific laws to curb dog attacks (2015)
Legislation Possibility for Large Powerful Breed Dogs
Two German Shepherds put down after dog attack (2016)
Dog owner can’t remember attack on her pet kelpie in Memorial Park, East Bentleigh (2016)
Yarra Ranges Council reveals 183 dog attacks occurred in past year (2016)
Casey Council called to ‘alarming’ 44 dog attacks since January 1 (2016)
Another vicious dog has attacked a 5-year-old girl (2015)
Inquiry into the regulatory framework relating to restricted‑breed dogs (page 23)
Hunt for ‘vicious’ dogs after attack on Shih tzu Jack Russell in Mill Park (2016)
Toddler attacked by dog in Dunolly suffers serious facial injuries (2016)
Kingston’s dogs and cats mostly well behaved (2016) – only 141 attacks!!!
Dog attack leaves owner concerned
Dogs attacked, owners warned
Dog attacks lead council prosecutions

Western Australia

Owner of dog fatally mauled calls for changes to dangerous dog laws
Pinjarra: Dog owner to pay $1200 after her dog attacks another

Craigie dog owner denies pet was vicious

City of Bayswater council rejects proposal to make all parks dog exercise areas
(126 attacks 2017)
Perth woman savaged by pitbull wants to report ‘dangerous animal’

Bad owners blamed as the number of dog attacks in Perth rise
 (WA 16 Councils – 2123 attacks)
Dog attack sparks calls for segregated parks to protect smaller breeds

Perth girl Cordelia Ehrhardt attacked by dog during Australia Day celebrations

Dog attacks father shielding his kids

City of Joondalup penalty for dog attack not enough says victim

Five attacks a day as dogs run wild in Perth suburbs

Twin dog attacks outrage

Perth woman charged over dog attack of 9-year-old avoids jail

Reminder for Rockingham dog owners (200 attack reports)

Young boy mauled by ‘Snowy’, a pet bull mastiff in Perth

Perth schnauzer Monty mauled by dogs with ‘lying owners’

10-year-old girl traumatised after her Jack Russell was attacked by a dog in the park

Dog attacks in Perth: Over 2000 reported but councils unable to identify owners
Perth mother mauled by dog in Armadale
Helpless couple watch as dogs maul pet alpaca
Owner of dogs which mauled a girl in a Perth park remains silent (2016)
Man taken to hospital after being attacked by dog in Bayswater (2016)
Dog Attack | 9 News Perth
Dogs put down after Perth girl mauled in Bassendean park attack (2016)
Australind pet mauled in vicious dog attack, left fighting for life at vet (2016)
Beckenham dog attack victim makes plea


Two men injured in early morning dog attack at Kelso (paywall)
Townsville dog bite: Woman attacked at Bushland Beach

Woman hospitalised with puncture wounds to her leg after Deeragun dog attack

Two small dogs attacked by large savage dogs at Mitchelton

Grandmother petitioning for stricter penalties on owners of savage dogs after her beloved maltese terrier was “ripped to pieces”

Dog ripped from owner’s arms and killed

Child taken to hospital after dog attack in Rockhampton
Dog mauled to death in own backyard
 (Fraser Coast Council – 104 – 206/17)
Gold Coast dog attack numbers spike significantly in 2018 from 2017 numbers
 (633 / 2017)
Savage dog attack one of 104 in the past year

Dog’s leg nearly bitten off by savage dog

DOG ATTACKS: Pets wounded on weekly basis in Warwick

Two hospitalised following separate dog attacks in SE Qld

Two people hospitalised after Mackay dogs attack

Five-year-old girl attacked by dog in Townsville yard
Mareeba Shire Council speaks out over multiple dog attacks

Julatten woman ‘savaged’ by domestic bull-mastiff

Owner wants apology after killer dog declared ‘dangerous’

Female Ergon Energy contractor hospitalised after dog attack at rural property in Tully

Chillagoe dog mauling prompts Mareeba Shire Council warning

Beloved dog mauled to death

‘You could actually see her heart’: Family dog attacked

Owner of mauled dog wants ‘dangerous husky’ destroyed

‘It was all over’: Mauling almost kills family pet

Townsville City Council cracks down on dangerous dogs

Mum’s plea to pet owners after pedigree dog mauled

BREAKING: Teen has dog bite to the face

Labrador attacked by escaped dog in South Townsville

Cairns toddler recovering after brutal dog attack, Dad wants dog dead

Owner lucky to survive after ‘wolf’ bites into his neck

Yungaburra local saves 2 lives during dog attack

Severity of dog attacks on the rise on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast
Brutal imagery of dog savaged on State of Origin night (2014)
German shepherd tried to save puggle from Gold Coast dog attack (2016)
Number of Gold Coast dog attacks significantly rises (2016)
A teenager and her beloved pooch were attacked by dogs (2016)
Dog days for Holloways Beach locals after canine clash (2016)
A pair of Gold Coast dogs attacked in brutal mauling at a Broadbeach
Family mourns terrier mauled to death at Pt Cartwright (2015)
Toowoomba woman, pet mauled in vicious dog attack (2015 – Poll)
Dog lover seeks compensation after vicious mauling (2016)
Family in shock after pet was mauled by two rogue dogs (2016)
Readers appalled at dog owner’s actions after attack at beach (2016)
Pet dog viciously attacked at off-leash beach
Horror dog mauling on Coast beach
Dog attack: ‘I was screaming at the top of my lungs’
Rocky dog attack adds to alarming council figures (2016)
Dog bites a daily danger as incidents in Bundaberg rise
High numbers of dog attacks calls for crackdown on owners
Animal attacks in Queensland
Hundreds of dog attacks reported across Mackay
Celebrity chef Tony Kelly’s dog under fire after child bitten
Forest Lake resident calls for huskies to be listed as dangerous

Northern Territory

Palmerston grandmother mauled in dog attack calls for tougher council bylaws
Girl, 9, recovering after dog attack outside Hibiscus Shopping Centre
 (15/16 – 173)
30 Darwinites attacked by dogs in three months

Australian Capital Territory

Police officer seriously injured in dog attack, court hears
Almost 220 dog attacks in horror five months for ACT
Calls for responsible pet owners after eight reported dog attacks last weekend

Dog dead, another seized after Tuggeranong attack

‘Dangerous dogs’ returned home to Amaroo property after killing a neighbour’s dog

‘This shouldn’t happen to anyone’: Pups brutally mauled in their Canberra backyard

The number of dog attacks in Canberra is on the rise

Search for dog that attacked Canberra Jack Russell, Evie in Narrabundah

Canberra woman seriously injured in dog attack in Lyons

ACT will not restrict pit bulls or other dog breeds when tightening laws

Dog ownership laws must put public safety at front and centre (389)

Canberra woman dies in ‘horrific’ dog attack

Poodle mauled in Coombs by two pit bulls in front of owner Steven Birchall

ACT government needs to act to prevent dog attacks in Canberra

Action on dog attacks needed
Owner to euthanise dogs that killed others in November attacks (2016)
Toy poodle nearly mauled to death by pit bulls in Gungahlin
Mauled tenant who lost finger launches action against ‘preventable’ pit bull attack
Woman and guide dog attacked by off-lead dogs at Canberra bus interchange (2016)
RSPCA says ‘dangerous dog’ rules not the solution
Unleash the hounds: in Canberra, you likely won’t get caught (2016)
Isabella Plains couple want justice for dog Lilly (2016)
Victims of dog attacks can now appeal decisions not to impose dangerous dog licences

South Australia

Owners appeal against seizing of ‘attack’ dog
Mother fears for child’s safety after pet mauled

Labor candidate Jo Chapley injured in dog attack while campaigning in seat of Adelaide

Woman’s face torn apart in horrific dog attack

Seaton Dog Attack

Whyalla dog attack owner disputes attack as ‘playing tug of war’ and issues public apology
Boy bitten by bull terrier at Whyalla after Dog and Cat Management Board shows increased dog attacks

11-year-old boy attacked by dog in Whyalla

Dog attacks jump by 30 per cent in a year in Tea Tree Gully

SA Government to introduce new laws requiring pet owners to exchange contact details after dog attacks
 (2015/16 – 1560 attacks)
Horrific trend of increasing dog attacks

Dog bites soaring, but mandatory desexing rules are on the way

Owners of dog fatally attacked call for people to take more responsibility for their pets
Dog attacks double, one young child admitted to hospital each week (2016)

Finally, a reader’s comment to a story in the Brisbane Times titled ‘Dog attacks on rise in Brisbane‘, from 2011. The comments to this thread can be summarised as follows:

“The breed of dog I own can never cause problems, and obviously anybody who does get their face eaten off deserved it.” That’s the problem with pet owners, you can hold a more rational discussion on carbon dating with a new earth creationist.

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Showing 6 comments
  • Michael and Meg

    My husband and I live in Macclesfield in SA. We take our dogs (3) walking everyday. Our dogs have been either attacked or harassed by local dogs while walking many times over the years and more recently incurred a serious attack which we reported to our local council and where action was taken on the owner. Many of the culprits are mastiff x but not all. Our council was prompt to respond to the owners. Unfortunately, the same dog/s are on the street the next day. Fines for dog attacks need to be hefty otherwise nothing will change. Council reprisals are often not enough. Education programs in primary schools around sensible dog ownership should be a mandatory starting point for community education.

  • Kat

    ’m a volunteer caring for a rescue dog, over the last 6 weeks.
    In my opinion, this site represents the end result of my daily experience for the last 6 weeks – disrespectful/frustrated dogs owned by disrespectful humans, who think the law or responsibilities does not apply to them.
    My experience is:
    On daily basis, OFF leash dogs in ON leash parks/rec areas, display bad behaviour such as: charging/aggression/dominance, following this dog, bark/growl/nip at this dog, who moments before was minding his own business. It terrifies him.
    These dogs don’t immediately respond to their owners, who think their dogs inappropriate, dangerous and unwanted behaviour is cute/funny/dogs being dogs…no guys, actually, what that is – frustration from not getting their needs met – not any or enough structure/exercise/boundaries/inappropriate or too much misplaced affection/no rules/no leadership/no purpose/no mental challenge etc.
    Then, when I ask for their dog to be put on a leash in a ON leash park/controlled/respect my personal space, I’m verbally abused/laughed at/insulted/called names/criticised/yelled at.

    Im forced to get in front of dogs charging with intent to fight, with this rescue dog hiding behind me (avoidance)…UNTIL he gets bitten and then what choice does it have, when on a short leash, cornered, and under attack- fight for self preservation is all that’s left when flight or avoidance are gone. Then it’s the “dogs fault”.
    Bad behaviour starts, then progresses when it’s allowed.
    No one wants to hear about following the rules. Those rules we all are supposed to follow to keep EVERYONE safe – the rules are actually the law.
    No one wants to do anything about enforcing the rules…until the next attack, more dogs euthanised, people traumatised.
    So, whilst it may seem like a rant, reality it’s as simple as this. Anyone who believes they’re responsible enough for the privilege of “owning” a dog, without the life long/daily effort and hard work and daily time involved of learning what your dogs actually needs, then MEETING them every day no matter what, choosing to be responsible, get training, learn what behaviour actually means not what you want it to mean, how to correct bad behaviour properly- KEEP YOUR DOG ON LEASH, this is where it all starts – balanced/happy dogs who get their needs met don’t charge, intimidate, attack, or bite, or anything else which constitutes a bad news story….or dogs put down because they are unmanageable or “bad dogs” – How can this not be due to inattentive human influence.
    What a tragedy.

    • Alan Timms

      I totally agree Kat. Almost daily I have to shout at other dogs and their owners to stay away. I don’t want their big unleashed dog charging over to my dog being walked on his leash … of their usually retort that he/she is harmless.

  • Nick

    Why do Pitbull’s / American Staffordshire Bull Terriers , have so many bad owners?

  • Chiangmaixpat

    Why don’t you start to carry dog repellent spray?
    I am an expat living in Thailand.
    I have encountered with more than 100 dog attacks since my settlement here.
    It is a miracle I have never been injured.
    5 months ago, I started to carry a homemade anti-dog attack spray.
    I named it Mean Dog Buster.
    It is a spray with vinegar, pepper, and chili.
    PVC cocktail all what dogs hate worst.
    I have counter-attacked in almost 30 cases of their attacks.
    It proved to be 100 % effective.
    If you are serious about defending yourself, copy this.
    It is simple, cheap, yet effective.

  • Chiangmaixpat

    Breed of the dog is hardly an real issue.
    Take it serious and take matter into own hands.
    Establish a mean to defend yourself against any violent dogs.

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