Family Dog Mauled Near On-Leash Park
by Marianna Papadakis
First published in The Leader 27 October 2009

Despina Rosales regrets that she did not "follow her instincts" when her dog was mauled by another dog near an on-leash park.

Ms Rosales, 37, of Brighton-le-Sands was taking her 13-year-old Jack Russell - Jake - to the car after a walk in Redmond Field, Brighton-Le-Sands, when an American Staffordshire terrier attacked.

The dog picked up Jake by the scruff of his neck shook him violently.

Ms Rosales said that perhaps she could have avoided a frightening situation if she had acted more quickly.

The incident cost her $700 in veterinary bills.

"The way this dog [terrier] was showing interest made me uncomfortable," Ms Rosales said.

Detective Sergeant Brett Van Akker from St George police said that neither of the dogs involved were dangerous breeds and no offences were breached by either owners.

A Rockdale Council spokesman said Ms Rosales was advised she could take civil action to claim compensation for her dog's injuries.

St George Animal Rescue animal controller Wayne Asplet said dogs should be kept on-leash even in off-leash areas until the owner was sure how the animal interacted with other dogs.

Mr Asplet said it was important to avoid putting dogs in situations of fear or stress.

He said details of dog attacks should be reported to police or councils as soon as possible after an attack.

"People should inspect to see which dogs are in leash-free areas and how their dog interacts before letting their own loose," Mr Asplet said.

Photo caption: Despina Rosales, 37, with Jake whose $700 vet bill included cleaning and stapling wounds, antibiotics and painkillers.


Tips for avoiding dog fights and attacks:

  • Keep a safe distance away from other dogs.
  • Be aware of dogs a block or more ahead and change your route to avoid unleashed dogs.
  • Carry a whistle to distract an attacking dog.
  • Do not run, slowly withdraw if you see an aggressive dog.

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Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance

It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.

Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.

Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.

Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.

Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.

If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.

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