A mum has shared her horror after her three-year-old daughter was attacked by a dog while in the playground of her childcare centre.

A Melbourne mum has spoken out about the growing danger of dog attacks on children after her three-year-old daughter, Daphne, was scratched and bitten by a dog while in the grounds of her childcare centre.

Daphne was sitting with other children on the lawn of the Abbotsford Convent early learning centre when a dog walker passed, calling out “doggie, doggie” to the children, encouraging them to pat them.

A Split Second

The woman was walking two dogs on the publicly accessible lawn, one which resembled a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the other which was large and wiry-haired.

“The children weren’t trying to play with the dog or trying to pat the dog or anything,” Denise said. “The dog walker just walked straight up to children before anyone could stop her. I understand that accidents can happen with dogs, but this could have been avoided.”

Before the teachers, who were supervising the children, realised what was happening, the smaller dog scratched Daphne numerous times and bit her near her mouth.

“It could have been a lot worse and thankfully the dog didn’t attack her eyes or her lips,” Denise said. “I don’t think it would have happened if the owner had been walking the dog or if someone with training was walking the dog.”

Easily Avoidable

Denise highlighted the growing risk of dog attacks as a result of a booming dog walking industry, with many employees untrained people who are unfamiliar with the dogs they are looking after.

“My thinking is that because dog walking is probably one of the easiest jobs you can get, the dog walker wanted to make money but didn’t necessarily know what she was doing,” she said.

It seems that experts agree, with Tasmin MacLennan, owner of Paws Outdoors, frustrated by the lack of education and training many dog walkers have.

“The consequences can be dire – not just for children, but also members of the general public and other dogs,” she warned.

“Certified handlers such as myself would not put dogs in any social situation where other people or dogs are at risk.”

Thankfully, Daphne has recovered from her injuries with no permanent damage but her story is a reminder of just how unpredictable animals can be with young children if not supervised properly.

Has your child been injured by a pet? Share your story in the comments.

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  • The poor little child. I’m at a loss as to why this has happened at a child care centre.

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  • Usually childcare centres are fenced in, unless they were on a park excursion or something. How did the person even walk up the children? So glad she’s ok!

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  • I rather hope there were consequences for the dog walker.

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  • Poor girl. The owner with two dogs was not in a position to be approaching kids at daycare with her animals. They could be allergic, have fears, and get injured!

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  • This is awful luckily we’ve never experienced injuries from pets but people definitely need to be more responsible when in charge of any animal.

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  • I often have dogs chase me when I’m walking my dog. They never have a lead on.

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  • This is terrifying – poor little one.

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  • Dogs should not be allowed on school property, the grounds should be fenced off. Poor girl, hope it hasn’t scared her of dogs now!


    • Fencing, dogs on leads and fines for people that do not comply with laws around dogs being on leads.

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  • Dogs scare me I was attacked as a kid and won’t let my 2 anywhere near them

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  • No injuries – great care and respect taken around all animals.

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  • Yes, my son was attacked by a dog when he was 2,5 nearly 3yrs old. It created a fear for dogs that lasted many many years.
    I myself have some negative experience as well years ago with the dog of a house mate. The dog turned nasty against me and we even went to dog therapy together. When this dog also attacked a child, it was put down.

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  • No, but I was bitten by the next door neighbours dog. It was not nice. I had a fear of dogs after that when I was younger.

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  • The playground of the Childcare Centre should be securely fenced and the only entry or exit should be from the childcare building. It should not be accessible to the general public at all

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  • having a stranger approach the children is just as scary, with or without the dogs. I hope the little one recovers quickly!

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  • Some truly scary possibilities waiting to happen. I love dogs but there a some dogs that definitely do not love us.

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