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.

Recent Posts
Showing 4 comments
  • 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.

  • Peter

    One hidden cost is the amount of psychological trauma to dog attack victims. I had quite a lot of trauma following an attack by two dogs on a beach, as well as various physical injuries, and I have read accounts of people who would not leave their house after a dog attack.

    A number of Councils offer free counseling services for people with trauma, and free counseling should be given to victims of dog attack. The cost of the counseling service for dog attack victims is paid for by dog registration fees. So if dog owners do not like paying high dog registration fees, then they can stop their dogs from attacking people.

  • Caroline

    Honesty is the biggest issue. Having been knocked off my feet by someone else’s dog, left with a fracture, bruising & off work nearly five months. I’m left wondering where to start in putting things back together. Truth & honesty from others would be a great start. The two people owning the other dogs walking beside me were too busy talking to know what their dogs were doing. The easy answer is I just fell which is rubbish… The unsupervised dogs playing behind me & one catching me behind my legs knocking my feet from underneath me is the cause & issue. People now claim not to know where or who she is so neither the council nor I can achieve much by way of justice.
    Even the registrations seem to be in someone else’s name!

Leave a Reply to Paula Cancel reply