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The Great Dog Bite Survey

The information in this article is about the 2006 Census and is for historical information only.

After the 1986 Census, the NSW Law Reform Commission was reviewing laws relating to civil and criminal liability in terms of dog attacks on private property and asked the Australian Bureau of Statistics to survey its Census collecting staff concerning their experience of dog attacks. The survey found that around 9 per cent of collectors experienced a dog attack which involved personal injury or clothing damage, and about 38 per cent of collectors were prevented on at least one occasion from delivering or collecting the form by the presence of a threatening dog.

On top of these figures, there were many other reported instances of dog incidents where the collector was saved by the owner, a neighbour or a passer-by or even by judicious use of the collector bag. Also the survey found that not only dogs were causing problems:

"Some collectors also reported encounters with creatures other than dogs. One collector was bitten by a horse and another was 'bailed up' by a horse, while a third met with a large bull standing guard at a house. A few collectors were driven off by geese, two were pursued by pet emus, one was attacked by nesting plovers, and another had the misfortune to be chased by a large pig."

Source: ABS Survey of Dog Problems in the 1986 Population Census, unpublished report 1986.

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