Two horrific dog attacks in Wellington Shire last week have left residents fearful someone will be seriously injured or killed if pet owners are not forced to take responsibility.
A shocking dog attack in Sale on Wednesday morning is believed to have left one dog dead and its owner injured.
The Gippsland Times understands a woman was walking her dog in Sale when they were set upon by two dogs who allegedly viciously attacked her dog, causing fatal injuries.
The woman is believed to have received some injuries during the incident.
It is understood the offending dogs were impounded after police and rangers attended the incident, which is being investigated.
Another incident on Thursday involved a cat being viciously attacked in its Graves St yard in Heyfield while the owner was out.
The owner, who prefers to remain anonymous, told the Gippsland Times on Friday neighbours rushed in to rescue the cat, which was almost killed and had its leg partially ripped off. The owner said she was now faced with a bill of more than $2000 after the cat had to have its leg amputated as a result of the attack.
“This same dog, a Staffordshire Terrior cross, has been in my yard before and regularly wanders around, but nothing gets done,” she said.
“I’ve called council before, but the dog has always disappeared before the ranger gets here.”
Christos Illiopoulis from the Maffra Responsible Dog Owners Group said he was not surprised by the incidents.
The group has been campaigning for tighter dog control and tougher penalties since it formed last year.
“Someone will be killed by dogs at this rate,” he said.
The Heyfield cat owner said she could not afford the vet bill, and was hoping to appeal to the community or an animal welfare charity for help.
The attacks are the latest in a series of dog attack incidents that have led to calls for increased penalties for dog owners who don’t secure their animals.
Late last year, Wellington Shire Council urged pet owners to secure their animals after experiencing a 43 per cent increase in reported dog attacks during the previous 12 months.
A horrifying dog attack in Maffra in May re-ignited calls for animal control laws to be strengthened, and rogue dog owners to be held more accountable.
The attack happened in broad daylight, when a 59-year-old dog owner was walking her 12-year-old dog on a lead along Alfred St.
Without warning, the two were ambushed from behind by a Staffordshire Bull Terrier-cross, which grabbed the older dog by the neck and began thrashing it around “like a rag doll”.
In the tussle the 59-year-old was knocked to the ground and suffered severe bruising and cuts.
Councils are required to meet a number of obligations relating to animal management under the Domestic Animals Act 1994, including investigating dog attacks, providing advice on domestic animal matters, and responding to and investigating customer requests and complaints.
Under its animal management policies, the council only nominates dog on-lead areas because of the predominantly rural nature of the shire, rather than dog off-lead areas.
All dogs are required to be placed on leads at all times in areas not nominated unless otherwise specified.
Local laws officers patrol those areas, and anyone found to have their dog off the lead may be issued with a $330 penalty for the first offence, and a $660 penalty for the second offence.
In Maffra, the nominated on-lead areas include Johnson St (between Foster and McMillan Sts), Fred Drury Park (Carpenter St), Lions Park Playground Area (Johnson St), Macalister Wetland Reserve Area (flora and fauna risk), Island Reserve/Port of Maffra and Macalister River Regional Park (McMahon Drive).
In Heyfield, those nominated areas are George St, Temple St, Apex Park (George St), Lions Park and Rotary Park.
A full list of the on-lead areas can be found on the council website.
Wellington Shire Council was approached for comment.