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Paws and Think on Responsible Dog Ownership

Dogs are more and more becoming part of the family with over 42,000 dogs registered in the Shoalhaven – nearly one dog for every three households. However, some dogs can be dangerous. Shoalhaven City Council has launched an educational campaign on responsible dog ownership with an aim to avoid dog attacks in the area. 

This initiative is supported and co-funded by Shoalhaven City Council and the Office of Local Government NSW and is organised in partnership with the RSPCA and Animal Welfare League.

The Companion Animals Act states that a Dangerous Dog is a dog that:

  • Has, without provocation, attacked or killed a person or animal (other than vermin); or
  • Has, without provocation, repeatedly threatened to attack or repeatedly chased a person or animal (other than vermin); or
  • Has displayed unreasonable aggression towards a person or animal (other than vermin); or
  • Is kept or used for the purposes of hunting.

The definition of a dog as being dangerous is based on deed, not breed, as not all members of a dog breed behave in the same way, so responsible dog ownership is necessary.

Owners of dangerous dogs have a range of obligations they are required to meet in order to ensure that people and other animals are protected.

In the Shoalhaven during the last year from 1 July 2017 to 1 April 2018, 121 dog attack statistics were recorded which Rangers say it is 121 too many. 

Many attacks involve children and Rangers have embarked on a Trauma Puppy campaign for children who have been bitten by aggressive dogs. Children are being left scared and traumatised after suffering injuries after being mauled or bitten by either the family dog or dogs roaming off a lead.

As part of Paws and Think, Shoalhaven City Council Rangers will be handing out ‘Trauma Puppies’ to those children affected by a dog attack. Even being chased by a strange dog can traumatise a child.

Council Rangers are asking our volunteer groups and individuals to help knit a Trauma Puppy and bring some calm and security back to a small child’s wellbeing, so they are not afraid of all dogs.

‘Trauma Teddies’ have long been used by our emergency services to help children at the scenes of car accidents, fires, and other traumatic events, to help them regain the need to have comfort and the security of an object which is theirs to keep. Trauma Puppies can be dropped to the Rangers at the Council Administration Building at Nowra or Ulladulla.

The Paws and Think campaign encourages responsible dog ownership. Ensure your dog is desexed, trained and kept secure and keep the dog active with regular walks. 

Get your dog microchipped and registered and your details are up-to-date on the Companion Animals Register. 

Paws and Think and be a responsible dog owner.  Dogs can bite!  Ensure your dog is on a lead when you are out and about and secure in their backyard. Warn people if your dog may bite and where possible train your dog.

Visit the Council website at for more handy hints. Healthy communities need happy dogs and fewer dog attacks.

  • Paws and Think on Responsible Dog Ownership

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