KIAMA Downs teenager Heidi Ekman has raised concerns about vicious dogs in and around the Kiama Downs/Minnamurra area, after witnessing or hearing of three dog attacks on North Kiama Drive during the past six months.
Heidi, 13, said the first incident occurred in February this year.
"We were waiting for my school bus and a bull terrier that was off-leash attacked another dog that was on a leash ... there were small children enjoying themselves on the playground nearby," she said.
"The second attack was the scariest when a nine-year-old friend was walking her dog, which was on a leash, and two dogs that were roaming the streets attacked her dog.
"It was directly in front of the owner's house and they took absolutely no notice of what was going on. Luckily a lady, who was out jogging, came to the rescue and kicked the dogs away, and I'm surprised the dogs didn't come after her.
"The young girls are still traumatised and not permitted by their parents to take their dog for a walk. They ... had to postpone [their holidays] while their dog was treated at the vet."
A third incident happened to Heidi's neighbour, who preferred not to be named, who said she was lucky to not only save her cavoodle, but herself.
"A lady on the other side of the street was walking her mixed breed dog when its collar slipped off and her dog made a bee-line for my dog," the owner said. "Luckily I had my dog on a harness which allowed me to swing it away from the attacking dog. I somehow managed to kick it away and it then attacked me, and luckily its owner managed to restrain her dog just in time."
Heidi said following these incidents, she has been too scared to walk her 16-week-old fox terrier Murphy.
"I really feel it's important that people who own dogs know their responsibilities," she said.
Kiama Council manager of environment and health Paul Czulowski said it was disappointing to hear of the three alleged incidents, however only one of them had been reported to the council.
"We rely on the public to come forward with information for ranger services to act on any complaints," he said.
"Rangers attend all incidents of dog attacks or roaming aggressive dogs as a priority 24/7.
"Kiama rangers also patrol the Kiama Downs/Minnamurra area daily, and ranger staff is made available to the public during council community events and support the Department of Local Government in school education program."
The Companion Animals Act 1998 states all dogs in public places must be on a lead under control of a competent person older than 16.
The state government hopes to adopt tough new laws imposing jail terms of up to five years and fines of up to $77,000 for owners whose dogs have been involved in serious attacks.
The government signalled the new laws, including a new category on menacing dogs last month in the wake of growing serious dog attacks. It plans to introduce the legislation into Parliament by the end of November.
For more information visit kiama.nsw.gov.au and go to the Ranger Services page.
You can also visit dlg.nsw.gov.au and select Owning a dog or cat in NSW for your rights and responsibilities as a dog owner.