Anxiety a possible reason for savage dog attack, expert says

DOG behavioural expert Sarah Rutten believes fear, anxiety or an aggressive predisposition could have caused a dog to viciously attack a woman in Goonellabah last week.

The owner of The Canine Perspective in the Northern Rivers holds a diploma in canine behaviour and a Certificate 4 in dog behavioural training and is concerned the dog responsible for Monday night's attack had not been captured yesterday.

The attack victim, who was in a stable condition in hospital on Tuesday afternoon, was collecting her mail about 9pm on Monday in McDermott Dr when the dog attacked without apparent provocation, tearing the top of her ear off.

It was described as a bull mastiff or similar breed, brown in colour, with no collar and aged approximately three years old. It remains at large.

"If the dog managed to get to the woman's ear, who knows what it could do to a child's face," Ms Rutten said.

"It's worrying it's still out, especially because there's children out and about."

Ms Rutten said the dog attack could have been triggered by a range of different factors.

"It can be a nature versus nurture thing," she said.

"Some dogs are predisposed to aggression but some are anxious or will attack out of fear. I'd say about 90% of attacks are down to fear or anxiety."

Call your local council if you have any information about the dog.

Avoiding Attack

  • Don't engage with an aggressive dog.
  • Avoid direct eye contact, but keep an eye on the dog's movements.
  • Remain calm and move slowly - do not run.
  • Move to a safe area and call your local council.

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