An average of one dog attack is reported every single day in Ballarat.
In the past three months The City of Ballarat has successfully prosecuted several matters in court, which included three search warrants to enter premises to seize dogs involved in alleged dog attacks.
Two recent court matters also saw two banning orders handed down to prevent two women from owning or caring for a dog, as well as fines, penalties and compensation costs.
The issue of responsible pet ownership has once again been brought to light after a dog attack on a suburban street last week, in which little Maltese Terrier Christian was mauled.
It was becoming dark when Brenton Thomas took his two small dogs Christian and 18-month-old Maltese Silky Terrier Callum for an evening stroll in Soldiers Hill.
On a route Mr Thomas and Christian have frequented often throughout Christian's 10 and a half years, they walked up Neill Street.
Mr Thomas said there was often a Staffy or Pitbull like dog which violently rushed at the back fence when they walked past but on this occasion he was surprised to see the dog in the front yard, where he had never seen it before.
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The dog was barking at Christian and Callum through the fence as they walked up the street.
Before he had time to react, the dog leaped over the fence and latched on to Christian's neck and started shaking him.
"I was screaming and trying to get the dog off," Mr Thomas said.
The dog's owner heard the commotion and restrained the dog, pulling it back into the property.
"I was in a state of shock then - I was looking at Christian and the blood was oozing out the back of his neck. It was a deep puncture wound," he said.
Christian was immediately rushed to Eureka Veterinary Clinic with serious injuries, where he remained overnight.
He returned home the following afternoon, with two capsules on his back to drain the fluid from his stitched up wounds.
"He was in a lot of pain," Mr Thomas said.
Despite medication, Christian was not in a good way in the days afterwards and he did not eat for several days.
Mr Thomas has taken Christian back to the vet multiple times since the attack, with a visit on Friday revealing his wound was infected.
He received further medication, with the vet bills now exceeding $1500.
Though still not himself, Christian is on the mend and has a little of his spark back.
Mr Thomas does not blame the dog for the attack, but rather the owners for being so irresponsible to allow the dog to be in the front yard without supervision.
He was quite upset about the attack in the days afterwards and now wants the owner to take responsibility for the dog's actions and pay the vet bills.
"I'm sure dangerous dog owners know that their temperament makes it likely for them to attack.
I don't quite understand why people keep dogs like that in a neighbourhood where if it does get out, it is a danger to other dogs, people and children. It could have horrific consequences.Brenton Thomas
If people are going to keep dangerous dogs as pets - though he doesn't believe an animal should be treated as such - the owner must be vigilant and keep it confined at all times.
City of Ballarat's Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017-21 states that of the estimated 16,908 owned dogs in the area in the year 2015-16, 13,193 were registered.
The statistics from the same year reveal one registered declared dangerous dog, with 19 registered declared menacing dogs. That same year 154 dogs were euthanased.
A Ballarat council spokesperson said the council takes a zero tolerance approach against dog attacks, with enforcement actions including fines, the seizure, surrender or euthanisation of a dangerous dog as well as criminal proceedings in the Ballarat Magistrates Court against the owner of the dog or of the person in control of the dog at the time of an attack.
Responsible pet ownership includes fencing a property properly as many attacks involve dogs biting people through fences, or by jumping them. Dogs should also be registered and when out in public, be on a lead.
There are a number of off-lead dog parks around Ballarat at which well-behaved dogs are free to run.
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