a) Ignore it and hope no one notices?  or
b) Try and address the issue?

This is a partly hypothetical question because no (published) data exists to identify the financial impact of dog attacks in Australia.

When you report a dog attack to your council they ask how much the vet bills were, and vets obviously have a record of how much you paid them. So this data exists in two different places.

Why does it stay hidden from public view? 

This exercise illustrates why reporting dog attacks is so important. It also highlights the power of data for decision making.

The evidence:

  • 8 submitted dog attack reports (1st week of ADAR) – $4,850 in vet bills
  • Reports (3 $1000+, 2 $100’s, 3 no fee – a reasonable cross section)

What we know – reported dog attacks 2015-16:

  • Dog attacks in South Australia – 2,179 (official reports)
  • Dog & Cat Management Board believe only 1 in 5 get reported – 2,179 x 5 = 10,895
  • Reported Dog attacks nationally (as per map) – 21,065 (offical reports)
  • Australian Veterinary Association’s national dog attack estimate – 100,000

Calculations for South Australia:

2,179 ÷ 8 = 272 (approx.) / 272 x $4,850 = $1,319,200
10,895 ÷ 8 = 1,362 (approx.) / 1,362 x $4,850 = $6,605,700

National Calculations:

21,065 ÷ 8 = 2,633 (approx.) / 2,633 x $4,850 = $12,770,050
100,000 ÷ 8 = 12,500 / 12,500 x $4,850 = $60,625,000

Cost to South Australians (official reports) – $1,319,200 
Cost to South Australians (unofficial) – $6,605,700 
Cost to Australians (official reports) – $12,770,050
Cost to Australians (AVA estimates) – $60,625,000

How can a $60,625,000 problem be ignored???

Of course these figures can be debated, but there’s no (publicly) available evidence to either support or contest them. In fact, I believe they are probably worse than this. The national map is missing report statistics for 260 councils!

The modelling will get updated monthly as more dog attacks are reported to the system. Without sufficient data it’s impossible to make informed decisions regarding animal management legislation.

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  • Paula

    Dog attacks are the result of human irresponsibility. The humans are the problem. Should have to undertake a Behavioural education online before being allowed a pet. More car accidents than bites and you need a licence to drive. Attack the real problem. It’s not the dogs.

    • Alan Timms

      I agree Paula, but how do we make irresponsible owners become responsible, that’s the challenge. If dogs and owners had number plates with speed and red light cameras everywhere it may be take seriously – now I wonder whether most even care.

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