The Gunnedah shire is one of the safest in the state for dog attacks according data by the Office of Local Government but not all is as it appears.

A review of the NSW dog attacks by local government area shows there has been just one incident – (April-June 2023)- in the Gunnedah shire in at least the last three years.

Gunnedah Shire Council manager of community safety Wade Berryman said the data is wrong and not all attacks reported to council had been recorded. It was not known why the data was not reported

“In 2023, Gunnedah Shire Council identified that not all confirmed or substantiated dog attacks had been entered into the NSW government Companion Animal Register,” Mr Berryman said.

“Staff have since been reviewing customer service requests for 2021/22 and 22/23 to establish dog attack incidents.

“This back capture will be uploaded to the Companion Animal Register.”

The data discrepancy follows two separate dog attacks in Beulah Street earlier this year, allegedly by the same dog which was later euthanised.

Dog attack statistics are published by the OLG every quarter but the last data available was from the July-September 2023 quarter.

Mr Berryman said each attack in the Gunnedah shire received a response by council.

“Every alleged dog attack reported to council is provided a response by the community safety team,” he said.

“Where the victim is prepared to provide evidence and sufficient evidence exists, council takes appropriate action including issuing fines.

“Not all dog attacks reported to and recorded by council’s customer service staff are in fact attacks. And in many reported incidents the victim or owner of the victim animal, does not wish to provide evidence which is necessary for any formal action.

“Reported incidents involving a dog rushing, biting, harassing or chasing another animal or a person are rare given that there are [more than] 13,000 identified dogs in the Gunnedah LGA.”

A review of other LGAs of similar size, however, reported multiple attacks in just three months. Nambucca Valley Council, with a population of 10,000, reported six dog attacks just in the last quarter of data available (July-September 2023). Narrabri Shire Council, also with a population of 10,000, reported five attacks.

The Office of Local Government was contacted for comment.

To order photos from this page click here