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).

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