REVEALED: Where state's 5000 dog attacks happened
A shocking 5000 dog attacks occurred across NSW in the last year and an expert has warned we are doing it all wrong when it comes to training our hounds.
Central Coast Council topped the Local Government NSW list for the most dog attacks in the past year with 280 - followed by Blacktown Council, which saw 223 incidents and Northern Beaches Council with 213.
Wollongong Council area saw 181 cases, while Maitland City in the Hunter Region had 142 attacks.
A whopping 2789 people were the victims of dog attacks over the year, with deadly incidents recently reported on the NSW south coast, and a man left in a critical condition after being mauled by two American Staffordshire terriers at a Blacktown home in January 2019.
Dog behaviourist Nathan Williams said the figures on dog attacks "was just the tip of the iceberg".
"I am inundated with people making inquiries about how they can improve the behaviour of their dog everyday," he said. "If we were to have the statistics on the number of unreported attacks, we would be even more appalled."
He said owners acting on the wrong advice about training dogs was making things worse.
"Dog trainers will tell you to excite your dogs with treats, use verbal commands and overstimulate a dog, but this will only lead to aggression," Mr Williams said.
"Dogs need to follow physical commands, be taught to respect the owner and have calming interactions with other dogs to prevent attacks."
NATHAN'S TOP TIPS
1. Teach your dog to be calm
2. Don't over excite your dog with treats and toys
3. Keep them on the leash in the house
4. Verbal commands don't work - be physical
5. At the dog park lead your dog around to interact with other pups.
He said there was a "major misconception" that certain breeds were more aggressive than others, "but if you keep a dog calm at all times they will be sweet, affectionate animals".
The behaviourist said there were early intervention techniques that can be used to combat attacks - and it starts from the day your puppy is welcomed into the home.
"Owners need to maintain a good attitude, provide calming environments and have consistent control and boundaries set up from an early age," he said.
New data obtained by NewsLocal has revealed a dramatic drop in the number of fines and convictions for the owners of vicious dogs, despite attacks continuing at a steady pace.
In 2010 there were a total of 108 charges for dog attacks across the state, however, that number has dropped significantly year-on-year to just 48 in 2019.
Shadow Local Government spokesman Greg Warren said council's forced to deal with dog attacks were being let down by the State Government.
"There is little deterrent for owners of dangerous dogs because the statistics show they simply walk away with a slap on the wrist the majority of the time," he said.
"But what about the mental and physical scars of the victims?
"The fact that the number of fines has halved since this government came to power in 2011 clearly shows this government has gone soft on owners of dangerous dogs."
Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock said there has been a 14.1 per cent decrease in the number of dog attacks since 2012.
"The NSW Government is determined to keep people and animals in our communities safe and encourage responsible pet ownership," she said. "Any attack by a dog is one attack too many.
"At the end of the day it is up to individual dog owners to be responsible and ensure adequate control and supervision of their animal."
NSW has the toughest penalties for dog attacks across the country, including jail terms of up to five years and $77,000 fines.
A new restricted and dangerous dog permit was introduced on July 1 to deter people from owning high-risk dogs
There are 2.46 million dogs registered to households across the state.