Calls for Council to address dogs offleash everywhere after Two Serious Dog attacks on local beaches in same week
A man was attacked by two Alsatians on Narrabeen Beach, on Sunday July 24th at 10.15am.
This is the second reported attack for which authorities and those attacked are seeking information from the public.
Council Rangers are investigating reports of a dog attack on a young child at Mona Vale Beach (south end) on Sunday 17 July 2022 at around 10am. If you have any information on the matter, please call Council's Rangers on 1300 434 434.
The man attacked the following Sunday was on the beach just north of where Wellington Street entry is.
He had to attend hospital for the whole day of the attack and return the following day for surgery.
The dog owner fled the scene of the incident, still on the beach, heading north, without giving any contact details to the man attacked.
the dogs that attacked man on Narrabeen beach: this photo was taken by a bystander - the man had put one of the dogs back on a lead
Roger Shahani sustained a ragged wound to his arm, which required surgery. The top of his thumb is still numb.
He is a musician, a bass player with a popular local band.
Roger is self-employed during the week, work that was impacted by the attack as it took 3 days to recover from the general anaesthetic required for surgery. He is still on antibiotics.
He has since had nightmares about being attacked by dogs.
Pittwater Online News recently ran a report on a lady who sustained permanent injuries to her hand through a dog attack, among other injuries, and has been awarded funds through court action to meet the needs of what she will require – for the rest of her life – simple things like being able to do the housework or write a letter. She too now has constant nightmares about being attacked by dogs. Her mental health has been severely impacted.
‘I can’t carry anything with my right arm,’ Roger told Pittwater Online News this week.
The Starwoods, the band Roger plays with, had a private function booked for the last weekend of July, another commitment Roger was aiming to meet.
He stated it had come to the point where people were no longer safe going onto Narrabeen Beach as there were dogs offleash there all the time.
‘’People can’t run, swim or exercise safely.’’ he said
‘’The next day there were more there. Today there were 5 on the beach offleash and when I approached the girl who had them there she became very aggressive.
She then took off towards the school – can you imagine that? 5 dogs in front of the primary school in charge of this person.’’
Roger said he called the council and a Ranger was sent, however, the woman with the 5 dogs offleash had already left.
Roger said that maybe people aren’t aware dogs are not to go on the beaches. However, there is clear signage and it is well-known that dogs are not meant to go into these public spaces, on to beaches, for this very reason.
The Dog Nuisance Bill of 1863, and every update to legalisation up to the current Dog Companion Act of 1998, were written to protect people and other animals, including wildlife, from dog attacks and irresponsible owners.
What is contained within the current and previous Act is not a guideline, it is law.
These laws were enacted specifically to deal with the problem of attacking dogs and owners who disregard the safety of others and the peace and safety inherent in the establishment of public spaces.
Roger is not the only one who is wary of going to the beach now.
Locals state it is no longer safe to go to any beaches, parks or even just walk along the street due to the amount of dogs offleash everywhere, all the time, with attacks occurring so frequently the council would need an army of Rangers to address the problem.
Residents, including dog owners, are warning each other to be vigilant when out and about of attacks. Dogs roaming, often without an owner in sight, has become a multiple everyday occurrence. There is nowhere you can go at present and not see dogs offleash.
In response to Roger posting a query to identify the owner or the two dogs who attacked him on social media he has been inundated by those who have a similar experience.
Others have contacted Pittwater Online News.
‘’The council is unwilling to take action and people don't speak up so they get away with it. I have spoken up on FB and in person to these people and been told to F¥%k off too many times. My dogs stay on their leads and I pick up any poo, people on the beaches just aren't responsible enough for dogs off leads.’’
‘’Here's some more reports from multiple people about these unleashed dogs which attack. In the last few years, the number of dog owners not following the rules seems to have skyrocketed. I am sick of droppings and remnants all over the place and unleashed dogs where they aren't allowed running towards me when I am going on what should be a peaceful jog or ride on a beach or in the bush.’’
‘’North Narrabeen grass reserve has pretty much become a dog park with unleashed dogs everywhere, it’s so annoying. People think rules don’t apply to them. A simple pat can turn nasty very quickly with kids and adults. I’ve seen it too often dogs coming up for a head scratch then attempt to bite when you go to pat their head. I live across road from surfclub and it pi**es me off the amount of sh*t I step in everyday too.’’
‘’My sausage dog got attacked on Monday 18th July around 4.30pm by a Huskie with no collar and no owner in sight at Lake Park Narrabeen. The dog was rouge and looked like he was on the hunt, it was scary.
Once we got him off my dog he bolted up the middle of the road towards the caravan park. Not sure if he’s perhaps escaped from his owner’s yard without them knowing, regardless he was on the hunt. (I) was lucky there was a footy game on and plenty of people to help get the dog off!''
‘’Dogs are NOT ALLOWED on Narrabeen Beach at any point. People ignore the rules all the time. To have the dogs off leash is completely illegal anywhere except off leash areas that are well sign posted. Local dog trainers call off leash areas fight parks. Lots of incidents at all the local ones. I know one dog attacked twice at North Curl Curl. My dog was nearly attacked at Bayview. The problem is with owners who bring aggressive dogs to these places. I have a dog who is reactive. He is never off a lead outside our property. It is really sad for both of us but the alternative of hurting another dog is far worse. Some folks don't seem to care.’’
‘’Dogs that are untrained or uncontrollable should be on a leash in public areas. If they aren't then this is the result as has been published and reported for years! It’s not all a beautiful rosy picture with big angry dogs unleashed, if it’s not an adult it could be a child or a smaller dog mauled! Dogs are pack animals and in large groups can kill and maim people.’’
‘’ Unfortunately, the people around here are unable to follow instructions. If they hear one beach is allowed to have dogs on it, that will mean all beaches can have dogs on them.'' – several people stating this
‘’First world problem: the concept that a dog needs access to a beach. It’s amazing how all the dogs inland in rural Australia survive without it. ‘’
‘’True: dogs aren’t born on beaches – shorebirds are, penguins are, seals are - not dogs.’’
A recent segment on the ABC’s ‘The Drum’ and another in 2021 found a spike of dogs being taken by new owners during Covid lockdowns who were unable to access dog-behaviour training and this has resulted in pets that have not been trained or had access to some of the socialising aspects of being around other dogs and people. Problems are occurring as a result, across Australia.
The other aspect of that is people returning to work are surrendering dogs in record numbers to pet shelters as those pets, taken on when they were with their owners 24/7, now do not know how to be left alone all day every day for most of the week and not only do not know how to cope with being left alone, they have developed behavioural problems.
A dog is for life though; there are ‘dog daycare’ facilities in our area, specialists in addressing behavioural problems, dog walkers, and even seniors who may welcome a little company while you are at work.
The council has stated it will publicly exhibit a Review of Environmental Factors (REF) for proposals for trial dog off-leash areas at Palm Beach (North) and Mona Vale Beach (South). The council states that 'The draft REF concludes that the activity is unlikely to have a significant impact on the environment, including threatened species and their habitats and ecological communities in these areas.’
The REF has not listed many of the species that are known to live in, nest in, rest in and forage in these places.
As one child has already been attacked in one of these areas, even prior to any commencement, what can happen has already occurred.
Residents have stated emphatically this week this idea, and even the times allocated, will bring dogs offleash into contact with other beach users, increasing the likelihood of more incidents and more serious attacks.
People believe the council has been worn down by "lobby groups" pushing agendas that have harmed the free and safe use of public spaces by others, describing this as an "ugly politicisation" of the process by people with shared interests.
The Central Coast Dogs in Open Space Action Plan report delved into what happens in dog offleash places on beach areas and found 'Dog owners who are of the opinion that they and their dogs have priority access to the space, and other people are a secondary user', reflecting what is occurring here where beach users of areas prohibited to dogs are already being told ‘it’s a dog beach, if you don’t like, don’t come here’.
Residents are asking ‘How can council arrest this development of dogs offleash everywhere all the time in our area, address the behaviour of dog owners who will attack those who point out the rules, and their right to safe use of these spaces?’
Adherence to the NSW Laws already in place and ensuring dog owners understand why they exist may help.
Prosecuting those who ignore them is also a proven deterrent.
The NSW State Government’s Office of Local Government issues quarterly statistics on dog attacks by Local Government Area. Although required by the OLG, these can also help councils identify where attacks or ignoring the rules is occurring.
However, for these to be accurate people need to report these to the council.
For more information on reporting dog attacks, visit this page on Council's website
To report roaming dogs visit this page on Council's website.
The across the board calls for the safety and peace of residents to be restored on the beaches and in the parks and on the pavements can be met if you help council to help you.
DOG NUISANCE BILL.
The following is the Bill introduced by Mr Rotton, "For more effectually abating the Nuisance occasioned by Dogs "
Whereas it is expedient to amend the law, relating to Ports Be it therefore' enacted by the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly of New South Wales in Parliament assembled and by the authority of the same as follows:
1. 'This Act shall commence and take effect on and from the first day of January next and shall be styled and may be cited as the " Dog Nuisance Act of 1863 "
2 The Act sixth William the Fourth number four is hereby repealed.
3 Whosoever shall keep any dog for fourteen days without causing a description of it to be registered and such registration to be renewed from year to year in manner hereinafter mentioned shall for every such dog so kept incur a penalty not exceeding forty shillings.
4 Every such registration shall be made by delivery at the nearest police office or office of petty sessions to the place where the dog is intended to be kept a description of such must in the form of the first schedule hereto with a. declaration to the truth of the contents thereof signed by the owner or keeper And the clerk at such office shall register such dog in a book to be kept there for that purpose and shall upon payment to him of the fee specified in the second schedule hereto give in return a receipt in the farm of the third schedule hereto And such receipt shall be conclusive evidence of the registration of the dog to which it relates And every such registration shall be deemed to be in force from the day upon which the same shall be made until the thirtieth day of September then next and no longer.
6. Whosoever shall wilfully insert or omit or wilfully cause to be inserted or omitted in any such description any thing false-or for the purpose of concealing the truth shall incur a penalty not exceeding forty shillings.
7. Every such Clerk shall cause to be entered in such book in alphabetical order a list of the names of all persons who shall have registered any dog during the current year shewing the numbers registered by each such person and shall keep such book during office hours in some convenient part of his office for public inspection And whosoever bail apply for the particulars in writing of any dog so
registered and of the name of the registered owner or keeper thereof shall be entitled to receive the same on payment of a fee of sixpence.
7. Any person may seize and detain any dog not duly registered under this Act and any Justice upon receiving notice thereof shall summon the reputed owner or keeper of such dog if known to appear and claim the same and if the owner or keeper or some one on his behalf shall not in obedience to such summons attend and claim such dog or if the owner be not known the same shall be forthwith sailed.
8. Any dog although registered which shall be found at large without a collar round its neck bearing illegible words the Dates and address of its owner and in the case of a mastiff or bull dog or a mongrel of either of the same not having a muzzle securely fixed upon its mouth so as to prevent it from biting any person or- injuring any property may be immediately destroyed. And all persons are hereby authorised and all constables expressly commanded to boom kill and destroy every dog to found at large, contrary to this enactment.
9. Every dog which shall in any highway or street rush at or attack any person or horse whereby the life or limb of any person shall be endangered or any property injured may in like manner and shall by any constable at hand be destroyed. And the owner or keeper thereof shall incur a penalty not exceeding five pounds for every such office of his dog and shall also forfeit and pay to any party aggrieved the amount of any damages occasioned by such dog.
10. Every dog lawfully destroyed under this Act there shall be paid to the person to destroy g the same a reward of two shillings and six pence on proof to the satisfaction of any of neighbouring Justice that such dog was so lawfully destroyed by the party applying for such reward and that such dog so destroyed was immediately disposed of so as to prevent any public nuisance or annoyance.
11. In any prosecution under this ACT every dog shall be deemed to be owned or kept by the person who shall be in the actual occupation of the house or premises upon which such dog shall be ordinarily kept or by the person whose name shall appear upon the collar worn at the time by such dog-unless positive proof to the contrary shall be adduced by the defendant. And such person shall be liable to the provisions of this Act as the owner or keeper of such dog whether kept for his own use or that of another Provided that with respect to any dog kept or used by a servant the same shall for the purposes of this Act be deemed to be owned or kept by his master or employer for the time being.
12. Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to apply to any dog while actually employed in driving sheep or cattle or while accompanying a cart dray or other carriage if chained or otherwise securely fastened thereto or muzzled or to any dog under the age of six months or which shall have been kept for less than fourteen days-the proof of which several facts shall lie upon the owner or keeper of such dog.
13 Any constable having charge of any division or district whatsoever who shall fail to report to some Justice any dog kept waiting his division of district without being duly registered shall incur a penalty not exceeding twenty shillings for every such die out unless he shows satisfactorily that the fact of non registration was not known to him. DOG NUISANCE BILL. (1863, September 21). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 13. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13093687
Was used in NZ too: Dog Nuisance Act 1871 modified in 1874;
AN ACT to amend" The Dog Nuisance Act, 1863." Title. [Assented to June 9, 1874.J WHEREAS an Act was passed by he Superintendent and the Provincial Council of the Province of Nelson in Session XXI. No. 2 intituled the "Dog Nuisance Act Amendment Act 1871" and whereas it is expedient that the said Ac should be repealed and other provisions made in lieu thereof: Be it therefore enacted by the Superintendent of the Province of Nelson with the advice and consent of the Provincial Council thereof as follows; at: http://www.nzlii.org/nz/legis/nsn_ord/dno1874175.pdf
Henry Rotton (1814 – 11 October 1881) was an English-born Australian politician. Henry Rotton was born at Frome Selwood in Somerset to solicitor Gilbert Rotton and Mary Caroline Humphries. After failing to enter the Royal Navy, he entered the merchant navy as a midshipman and later officer. In 1836 he arrived at Kangaroo Island, whence he journeyed to Sydney. In 1839 he married Lorn Jane Macpherson, with whom he had two children; a second marriage on 18 March 1844 to Ann Ford produced a further eleven children. He ran an inn near Rydal in 1839 and ran mail coaches between Bathurst and Orange from 1849. From 1853 he was a horse and cattle breeder near Kelso. In 1858 he was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly for Western Boroughs. He transferred to Hartley in 1859, representing that seat until his defeat in 1864. Rotton died at Mynora near Moruya in 1881.