TEN dog attacks on people have been reported in the district so far this year.
Gisborne District Council animal control officer Steve Greaves says the number of attacks have more than doubled from four at the end of January to 10.
There have been 22 reports, which include dog-on-dog, dogs-on-cats, two dogs attacking wildlife and attacks on stock.
“We have also had to deal with 18 rushing incidents. These have been uncontrolled dogs rushing off properties and acting in an unsociable and aggressive manner toward people in public.”
New Zealand Post’s Gisborne manager Patsy Horua said her mail delivery workers were in the “firing line” for attacks and rushing dog incidents,
“Sometimes it feels like we are risking life and limb. Everybody here has had terrifying dog experiences. Too many dog owners do not have their dogs adequately restrained.”
Last week postie Johnny Gibbs was delivering the mail in Riverdale when he was chased and bitten by a bull terrier in Leon Street.
The only course of action posties have against dog rushing and attacks is jumping off the bike and using the frame as a barrier or squirting liquid from their water bottle as a deterrent, he said.
Fellow colleague Peter Kerekere has also had his fair share of horror tales while on the job.
“I was biking past a fence about a metre and a bit high when this big brute starting nutting off and jumping up.
“I noticed nails and bolts popping out of the fence frame and then a big chunk of the fence fell away. Next minute there was a drooling hell-hound on my heels. I sped off into a random property, ditched the bike and ran into the house.”
Mr Greaves said one dog had been put down voluntarily by its owner and two others euthanased after being seized by dog control officers this year.
The council is still searching for a dog involved in an attack at Waihirere on an alpaca and sheep.
“One dog was caught but we believe the other is in hiding with owners in town. These people will be well aware of what their dog did.”
Another dog that was semi-wild in the Derby Street and Aberdeen Road area, was proving to be elusive and had either gone home or had moved to a different area.
Mr Greaves said registering and microchipping dogs was an important owner responsibility. The legislation brought into effect in 2006 continued to be “hugely beneficial”.
Dogs must be microchipped if registered after July 1, 2006, or if they are classified as menacing or dangerous — the American pit bull-type terrier, dogo Argentino, Brazilian fila and Japanese tosa.
Working dogs do not need to be microchipped. Of the 11,600 dogs in the district, 5200 are working dogs.
Owners can get their dogs fitted with a microchip transponder by the council, SPCA or any veterinary hospital.
It is then up to the owner to take the microchipping certificate to the council to have the information recorded.
Without this information, a dog picked up straying might be rehomed or euthanased, said Mr Greaves.
The cost to register dogs in Gisborne varies between about $40 and $70, depending on whether it is a working dog or a household pet.
There is a $25 discount for pensioners and an $11 to $30 discount for selected owners.
Dangerous dog registrations are $194.
Owners have until the end of July to register their dogs before they incur penalties.