THERE are growing concerns about the number of dangerous dogs being able to roam free in the Bathurst region, with residents urged to report any incidents.
In response, Bathurst Regional Council has revised its Dangerous and Menacing Dog Policy, which was developed to provide a transparent framework for the regulatory response to an alleged dog attack.
The revised document, which has been placed on public exhibition, comes after a council staff conducted a review of the policy.
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Staff recommend minor changes to the written policy and the risk assessment matrix.
According to council's director of Environmental, Planning and Building Services, Neil Southorn, the suggested changes do not fundamentally alter the process for assessing the seriousness of an incident, nor the process of the review panel.
"However, it is recommended that these changes are made to ensure that the policy reflects the current statutory framework and to correct minor inconsistencies in the matrices," he said.
The proposed changes to the policy sparked discussion at council's November ordinary meeting.
Among the concerns was the number of unrestrained dogs outside of the designated off-leash areas.
"There's a lot of illegally off-leash dogs wandering around the place when people take them for a walk, and I can particularly say up near the cemetery, because I go there every night walking my dogs," councillor Warren Aubin said.
He put questions to Mr Southorn about how people can go about reporting dogs in the event there is an attack, particularly when the dog's owner is not present.
This led to a reminder from the director about the importance of reporting incidents.
"It's important that it be reported that there has been an incident," Mr Southorn said.
"We'll certainly receive those reports. Rangers are available, on call too, to attend incidents if they are occurring at the time.
"... Even if the dog has run off and is no longer present, it's important that that information continue to flow through to council so we can continue to keep track of what dog is doing what, which suburbs, we can narrow down premises."
He also encouraged people to provide council with photos of dangerous dogs if it is possible for them to take them.
He noted that rangers will "drop everything" to attend a dog attack as it is occurring.
From January 1 to June 30, there have been 11 dog attack incidents reported in the Bathurst council area.
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