‘Yappie dogs are the problem': Owner's fearful admission
WALKING your dog on a leash should be an easy task but for Emma Hartwig it has become a nightmare.
The Casuarina local is fed up with pet owners walking their unrestrained dogs in leash-only areas.
Ms Hartwig said she is in a constant state of anxiety while walking her German shepherds Floyd and Roman for fear of their reaction when smaller dogs rushed at them.
"Floyd is bite trained but Roman is still in training," Ms Hartwig said.
"Dogs don't have hands, their reaction is to bite and if my dog grabs hold of a little dog, where does that leave me?"
Tweed dog trainer Rhonda Robinson confirmed Ms Hartwig's concerns, explaining dogs on a lead felt restricted and would react if confronted.
"They shouldn't be off lead full stop. All dogs should be on leads and it's the responsibility of the owner to keep them a lead," Ms Robinson said.
"Dogs should only be off lead if they're under verbal control, which is highly unlikely.
"With dogs they're either going to fight or flight when they're on lead … so if they're not confident with their handler, they will feel they need to protect themselves."
The Top Dog Academy owner said when she's training a dog it was detrimental to its progress when unrestrained dogs approached them.
"They don't want a friendly, yappie dog running up to it when we're trying to work through issues with it. It'll just put it further back," Ms Robinson said.
"I hear a lot of people say, 'Well my dog's friendly', but there are a lot of others who aren't friendly and we're trying to fix that problem.
"Everyone sends their children to school, it's the same with dogs, if you get a dog, you need to train it."
Tweed Shire Council confirmed there was an increase in dog attacks, however, council's Vince Connell said the community's expectations were high and unrealistic.
The director of planning and regulation explained each major dog incident required a thorough investigation that meets State Government legal requirments.
He added rangers also faced the challenge of covering a huge area, an increase in complaints and population growth.
"Council has attempted to respond to these increasing demands through employing a new coastal ranger with a particular focus on protecting impacts on fauna, flora and environmental areas," Mr Connell said.
"To help deal with these issues, council continues to be proactive in dog owner education and more targeted patrols of illegal activity such as dogs on lead," he said.
"However, responsible dog ownership on the community's part plays a vital role in managing these issues."
Reported dog attacks:
December 2019: 7
January 2020: 22
Unleashed / roaming dogs:
December 2019: 33
January 2020: 62