By Kate Mani
Dog attacks in the CBD have increased, with five serious attacks on people and five on animals occurring in the City of Melbourne in 2016-17.
This is a significant increase compared with the one serious attack in 2015-2016 and three serious attacks the year before.
Of these attacks, five people and one other dog were seriously injured and four pets were killed, with the City of Melbourne also believing that more attacks have gone unreported.
One of the serious dog attacks took place on Franklin St in the CBD.
The culprits of these attacks included a range of breeds and were not limited to dangerous or restricted dogs.
At the moment, 10 dog incidents are awaiting a hearing or have been finalised in court, while three others are under investigation.
In the wake of the attack increase, Lord Mayor Robert Doyle urged owners to watch their dogs and said the city would crack down on those who did not.
“As pet owners, we have an obligation to take responsibility for our pets and the City of Melbourne is stepping up its monitoring and compliance,” he said.
If courts find a dog guilty of a serious attack their owner faces a fine of up to $6342 as well as a potential order for the dog to be destroyed.
City of Melbourne offers is patrolling more than 480 ha of open space to ensure dogs do not wander unattended and that pets are on leashes where required.
In most of the reported attacks dogs were accompanied by their owners but were not leashed.
The Lord Mayor also strongly encouraged victims and dog owners to alert their council as soon as possible after they have experienced or witnessed an attack.
“Try to get as many details from the dog’s owner as you can so we can investigate and take the appropriate action,” he said.
“Proactive animal management patrols are underway across the City of Melbourne, including in open spaces and streets within the CBD,” a council spokesperson said.
“Our animal management officers play an important role in helping to prevent dog attacks by ensuring pet owners have their dogs properly leashed and under effective control.”