DOGS are inflicting serious flesh wounds on pets on a weekly basis in Warwick while some residents have been left needing stitches after similar attacks.
Southern Downs Regional Council has revealed 20 cases of dog attacks have been reported in the past year, but Warwick Town and Country Vets owner Coralyn Turner said people were seeking assistance for attacked animals on a weekly basis.
"We would have seen that many or more in the last year, let alone the other clinics,” DrTurner said. "It shouldn't be something we're seeing every week, which we do.”
Dr Turner said most of the injuries were skin wounds that often appeared to be minor, but were serious. "Generally it's wounds on the skin that need to be drained and flushed,” DrTurner said.
"Or degloving injuries, where skin comes off the paw or a part of the ear.”
A council spokeswoman said people had also been injured as a result of dog attacks.
"Southern Downs Regional Council has previously received reports of residents incurring substantial injuries due to dog attacks,” she said.
"These injuries, while not life-threatening or serious, have included bites and lacerations which have required stitches or medical attention.”
Dr Turner said often a dog attacked when it escaped its back yard, while other attacks occurred between dogs residing on the same property.
The council last week called upon residents to report dangerous dogs to prevent attacks.
Mayor Tracy Dobie said it was important for residents to report close calls with dangerous animals.
"They will raise awareness about dangerous or vicious dogs that may prevent an incident happening in the future,” CrDobie said.
Dangerous dogs are classified as those that have seriously attacked, or acted in a way that caused fear to another person or animal.
A report can also be made if a person believes the dog may commit a serious attack due to the way it is behaving.
Depending upon the severity of the attack the dog may be seized, impounded or destroyed, in addition to the owner being fined or prosecuted.
Two dogs have been labelled as dangerous on the Southern Downs in the past year.
The council spokeswoman said many residents choose to euthanise their animal following an attack, which may be reflected in the small number of dogs that are classified as dangerous.
Dr Turner said she hoped community reporting would help raise awareness about the need to keep dogs within property boundaries.
"Someone who sees it has to be proactive because no one will know about it otherwise,” she said.
Warwick resident Kate Martin is the owner of a bloodhound cross bull Arab bull mastiff dog and has previously owned Staffordshire bull terriers.
Ms Martin said her dogs were placid because they had been handled correctly, but any breed of dog could be dangerous if brought up to be aggressive.
Reporting dangerous dogs could help reduce attacks but it could also provoke dog owners, MsMartin said.
"Council needs to have good evidence to back them up in case the owner of the dog says they didn't do this,” MsMartin said.
Ms Martin said owners also needed to be educated about their breed of dog and learn how to train them properly.
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