The Australian Veterinary Association estimates there are more than 100,000 dog attacks and harassments in Australia each year. All councils – without exception – believe most attacks don’t get reported, this was confirmed by the University of South Australia’s research that concluded, 4 out of 5 attacks go unreported to councils.

Why do 80% of dog attack victims do nothing about it?

From my research, I believe these are some of the most common reasons for not reporting attacks:

  • It happened at home or at the home of friends or family members and they do not wish to incriminate either the dog or its owner
  • The victim didn’t think it was serious enough to bother about as no real damage was done
  • Lack of evidence, if the irresponsible owner left the scene without providing their details
  • No action, even if they do report it (Perth’s statistics support this)
  • Victims and witnesses not willing to provide statements or take matters further
  • The prospect of court proceedings causes hesitation to pursue matters
  • The current reporting process is inconvenient
  • Lack of information about dog attack reporting on council websites (in South Australia)

The current reporting process is clearly not working. A different approach is required

As Albert Einstein said so eloquently:

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results

Australian Veterinary Association spokeswoman Dr Kersti Seksel said that no meaningful progress on reducing dog attacks will occur and until the full details are known. If only 1 in 5 attacks are being reported using the current system, full details will NEVER be known.

The Adelaide Dog Attack Register offers a different approach to dog attack and harassment reporting

  • The attack reporting process is simple and convenient
  • It’s 100% confidential
  • Victims choose whether they wish to submit their report to council
  • Witnesses can contact victims confidentially
  • Attack reports will be distributed widely via social media to help find witnesses

Without accurate statistical data, no meaningful decisions can be made 

Despite the severity of some dog attacks, people are still reluctant to report them. Rockhampton Regional Councillor Ellen Smith said it was frustrating for the council when incidents such as this go unreported by the victims.

Cairns Regional Council provides excellent advice for dog owners and victims of dog attacks on their website, this includes the reporting process and what to expect.

The bottom line is this:

If the Adelaide Dog Attack Register can capture information about 2 out of every 5 attacks / harassments that occur, it will be a 100% improvement on current reporting data.

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  • A.C Locke

    There is also a cultural belief that if a dog doesnt trust you you must be a bad person, if you are bitten/attacked people seem to assume their is something sinister about it.” what did you do? ” its a taboo subject as people are embarressed to admit they dont walk around their neighbourhood any more because of dogs. they dont feel safe, some people have even mentioned to me that they dont know why sharks are being discussed so much when you cant even feel safe walking down the rd or letting kids sit at a bus stop without fear of a dog attack.
    in Switzerland a one off dog training course is mandetory for dog owners.
    people have also said they feel reluctant to walk small dogs for fear of attack.
    I heard 2 guys on the train recently saying its best to target homes with large vicious dogs as they have something to hide, cash jewelery etc and all the ways to get rid of the dog quick. It wasnt the first time i have heard this. People are turning to technology more to protect their homes because of this apparently.

  • Kylie

    I was attacked by a roaming dog when I was 17yrs old. My limbs shoulders scalp and face were bitten, I have never felt safe near dogs and dogs with no leash cause me to freeze with fear and Im never 100 percent sure that I wont wet my self, cause thats what happened to my body during the mauling. I cant go to the beach cause some people dont obey councils laws. All it would take is for all dogs to be leashed at all times when not at there homes. For people to buy a breed of dog that matchs their exercise level and not their ego. Thank you for this web site it gives me hope for a better future.

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