RSPCA WA Statement: Information relating to Dog Attacks

RSPCA WA Statement: Information relating to Dog Attacks

RSPCA WA understands that people might be concerned about what to do if they are attacked by a dog. Dog attacks occur for a variety of reasons, and breed alone is not a reliable predictor of aggressive behavior.

Dr Anna Smet, RSPCA WA’s Animal Behaviour Services Coordinator, has provided the following information to consider in a potential dog attack situation:

  • If approached by an unfamiliar dog, let it sniff you and remain calm. It should leave you alone if it does not sense a threat.
  • Avoid eye contact and remain calm - loud noise and movement may excite the dog.
  • If the dog attacks, try to deflect it by creating a barrier between you and the dog. Give it your jumper or your bag, or anything else that you can distract it with.
  • If the attack continues, turn sideways to the dog, and protect your face, neck and front of your body with your arms. 
  • If there are people around, calmly ask them to call for help.

If you witness a dog attacking someone, call for help immediately without putting yourself or others in danger. Call local council rangers for assistance, or emergency services.

If you are worried that your own animal is starting to show signs of aggression or notice concerning changes in its behavior, seek professional advice from your vet or an animal behaviour specialist.

When considering introducing a new pet to your family, no matter where you get it from, research into the animal’s background and behavioural history, where available, is important. RSPCA WA conducts thorough medical and behavioural assessments on all animals that come into our care, before placing them with foster families or making them available for adoption.

RSPCA does not believe that breed-specific legislation is an effective way of reducing or preventing the incidence of dog attacks, and dogs should not be declared “dangerous” solely on the basis of breed.

RSPCA WA encourages anyone who witnesses animal cruelty to report it immediately to the RSPCA Cruelty Line on 1300 CRUELTY (1300 278 3589).


  • Susie Stinton:

    18 Feb 2018 13:35:59

    Can you please help us with the appropriate way to report concerns over an aggressive dog?
    We had an incident today with an unprovoked dog attack, after which the owner apologised profusely but gave the impression similar incidents have happened before, and she also disciplined her dog by kicking it.
    We were walking on the footpath when a dog came running out from its house, and attacked our dog (on lead, hadn’t been sniffing or barking at the house), after being dragged off it came back twice.
    We are concerned a similar incident will happen again and the next time someone may not be lucky with no harm being done. We also have concerns with how this poor dog was being kicked, and not surprised at its aggression if this is how it was being disciplined in public. I will email the council but not sure if they are the correct authority to report to.
    Thanks for any advice.


    09 Oct 2018 10:33:26

    Hi Susie

    Reporting this to your council is the correct course of action. If you are concerned about the welfare of her dog, you can report it to the RSPCA Cruelty Hotline on 1300 CRUELTY (278 3589), or online via the link at the very top of this page.

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