The Riverine Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By Ivy Wise

A FAM­ILY’S beloved pet has been mauled by two ferocious dogs in Echuca who couldn’t be con­trolled on a lead.

And ac­cord­ing to a Facebook post about the at­tack, which has been shared more than 50 times, it is not a one-off in­ci­dent but rather a com­mon oc­cur­rence around the Echuca and Ton­gala ar­eas.

While on hol­i­days in Echuca, Kim Di Mieri and her daugh­ters, aged four and two, were walk­ing their 10-yearold Stafford­shire bull ter­rier Os­car along the foot­path on An­struther St, be­side Echuca Pri­mary School, about 3.30pm on Friday when they were set upon by two black dogs she be­lieved to be a rot­tweiler and pit­bull.

‘‘A woman was walk­ing from the other di­rec­tion and her two dogs were bark­ing and scrap­ping with each other and it looked like she was hav­ing trou­ble con­trol­ling them, so I held Os­car very close to me,’’ Mrs Di Mieri said.

‘‘The woman went right out onto the street to give us a wide berth and just as we walked past she was strug­gling to hold them and they dragged her over to us and latched onto Os­car.

‘‘In the at­tack, the three of them bumped into the pram where my twoyear-old daugh­ter was, which was quite fright­en­ing.

‘‘I re­mem­ber scream­ing and they even­tu­ally let go.

‘‘My four-year-old was hys­ter­i­cal by this point.’’

Mrs Di Mieri said Os­car was badly in­jured in the at­tack and when she re­alised he couldn’t walk, she told the woman that Os­car had been hurt and would need to see a vet.

‘‘She just said ‘Your dog at­tacked my dogs’ and walked away. I couldn’t be­lieve it.

‘‘I told her I wanted her details but she just took off.

‘‘I wanted to go after her, but I had to carry a 25kg dog and get my daugh­ters home — one of whom was on a scooter cry­ing and the other in a pram want­ing to get out, so I couldn’t run after her.’’

Mrs Di Mieri said the bite mark on Os­car was about 3.5cm deep (see pic­tures right) and re­quired a trip to the vet, which cost her $300.

‘‘I called the po­lice but they said they couldn’t do any­thing be­cause I had no ev­i­dence,’’ she said.

She did make a re­port to the ranger, who is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the at­tack.

Cam­paspe Shire reg­u­la­tory and com­mu­nity ser­vices general man­ager Paul McKen­zie said al­though coun­cil staff had been pro­vided with a state­ment and a de­scrip­tion of the dogs, it had no details of where the dogs might live and the owner’s name, and no wit­nesses were present.

‘‘The per­son walk­ing the now in­jured dog is not a res­i­dent of Echuca and was vis­it­ing fam­ily. All fac­tors make it very dif­fi­cult to take fur­ther ac­tion par­tic­u­larly as we can­not iden­tify an owner,’’ he said.

I re­mem­ber scream­ing and they even­tu­ally let go. My four-year-old was hys­ter­i­cal by this point

‘‘DOG own­ers are re­minded of their re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure their dogs are un­der con­trol in pub­lic places.’’

De­spite nu­mer­ous com­plaints of dog at­tacks and dogs roam­ing the streets, Mr McKen­zie said re­ports of them were not on the in­crease.

‘‘Re­ports of un­con­trolled dogs can be made to coun­cil, with each re­port to be in­ves­ti­gated and in­fringe­ment no­tices is­sued where ap­pro­pri­ate,’’ he said.

‘‘If nec­es­sary, dogs will be im­pounded and le­gal ac­tion taken.’’

Mrs Di Mieri said she would like to see the dogs who at­tacked Os­car muz­zled and treated as dan­ger­ous.

‘‘If it had been a lit­tle dog, they would have killed it,’’ she said.

‘‘I don’t want this to hap­pen again to any­one’s dog or, worse still, a child.

‘‘If my daugh­ter had tried to in­ter­vene, I don’t know what would have hap­pened. They were re­ally ferocious.’’

She also said the dogs’ owner needed to be held re­spon­si­ble and fined.

‘‘She had no re­gard for her dogs’ ac­tions,’’ she said.

The woman is de­scribed as aged in her 50s with grey hair, which was pulled back in a pony­tail. She was last seen head­ing west over the Cam­paspe River foot­bridge.

‘‘I just want to make sure res­i­dents are aware of this and make sure this doesn’t hap­pen again,’’ Mrs Di Mieri said.

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