100,000 ATTACKS IN AUSTRALIA EACH YEAR: 80,000 GO UNREPORTED. WHY?
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.