6 September 2021


A dog attack is not common in our daily routine, but sometimes it happens. As per the data from the Australian Companion Animal Council Incl., more than 100,000 people are bitten by dogs each year, with 12,000 – 14,000 victims requiring treatment for dog bite injuries and roughly 10% of them being hospitalized in 2017.

Recently, the City of Mandurah was on the scene of a dog attack resulting in 3 people and 2 dogs being injured by an American Staffordshire Terrier called Molly, as reported by Aaron Kirby, Perth Now, on the 1st of September 2021.
According to City prosecutor Adam Watts, Molly had fled her owner’s home via an open gate left open to allow two electrical workers, to enter when the mauling occurred. The first victim was a dog that Molly charged, latching onto its neck.

The second victims were a dog and 3 people. One of the people was walking the dog home when Molly came across them. Before Molly’s owner intervened, Molly grabbed the other dog by the head and neck. The dog’s walker was also bitten on the calf. Three witnesses tried to separate the dogs, two of whom were bitten on their hands. Both dogs were injured, but recovered completely.

Molly had been declared dangerous, according to Mr. Watts. However, Molly wasn’t under an order to be euthanized because her owner had followed dog control guidelines without previous issues.

Four charges were brought against Molly’s owner: control of a dog that attacked or chased a person or animal and caused injury, being the owner of an unregistered dog, dog attack or pursuit causing physical injury, and having a dog that was not kept or fastened in a public area. A fine of $6,000 for the mauling and $2,000 in costs were before granting a spent conviction. Vet Costs of around $4,000 were also applied.

Nearly 1 year ago, the ABC Breakfast radio show with Russel Woolf reported a case of dog attack where the dog’s owner was charged $400 by the City of Swan. The case occurred in Guildford when a woman knocked on Mark Cantrell’s front door and was bitten by his dog Henry.

Mr. Cantrell has a large sign warning “beware of the dog”, and he said he did not invite the woman onto his property who opened the gate, which he believes the woman neglected to close, which would have stopped the attack. On the other hand, The City of Swan stated that she was lawfully permitted to approach his front door and that he owed her a duty of care as a result.

Henry came to the backyard when he saw the open gate and went in the woman’s direction. Mr. Cantrell warned her to stay immovable, but she ran to the open gate then Henry bit her on the back of her calf.
However, the City of Swan states that residents should contain canines that might hurt someone accessing a property. City officials have also reviewed the infraction, and have concluded that there are no grounds for withdrawal.

What constitutes a dog attack?
Under the WA Dog Act 1976, an attack is defined as:
– Aggressively rushing at or harassing any person or animal
– Biting, or otherwise causing physical injury to a person or an animal
– Tearing clothing, or otherwise causing damage to the property of the person attacked
– Attempting to attack, or behaving in such a manner toward a person as would cause a reasonable person to fear physical injury
– It is important to note that a dog does not have to cause injury to quality as a dog attack offence
The person in charge of the dog might face penalties of up $10,000 if the attack results in physical injury. Penalties of up to $20,000 may be imposed if the offence involves a dangerous dog.
If the offence involves a dangerous dog, the person in charge of the dog may face penalties of up to $3,000 and up to $10,000 even if no physical injury is caused.

What to do if a dog attack occurs?
If your dog is involved in a dog attack, seek medical or veterinary assistance right away, then call the City’s Rangers to report the attack.
To assist with investigations, try to obtain the following information:
– Dog owner and/ or witness information
– Photos of any injuries sustained as a result of the dog attack
– Location, date, and time of the incident
– Medical and veterinary documentation should you or your pet require treatment

Mossensons Lawyers are able to provide any advice and legal services related to animal issues: dog bites and attacks, landlord-tenant disputes, veterinary malpractice, and animal cruelty.

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