Aussie sheepdogs have been known to gobble up humans, but not so long ago it was rare to find a human being alive on the farm.
Now, according to the Australian Shepherd Society, that’s changing.
The group has recorded at least five deaths involving Aussie hounds in the past 12 months, and this year the deaths are on the rise.
In 2016, there were two deaths in Queensland and one in the ACT, while in the NT there was a death in a dog.
The organisation says the increase is a result of people becoming more aware of the breed’s history of attacks, and is working with the government to ensure that dog attacks are stopped and captured.
“It’s also become a little bit more accepted for people to walk their dogs off farms because they think they can just leave their dogs alone, they don’t need to do anything,” said Sophie Thompson, the organisation’s director of policy and advocacy.
“But there’s no guarantee that they’re going to be doing that if they do.”
Aussie hound deaths in Australia have increased by 12 per cent since the start of the year.
Ms Thompson said while the breed has always had problems with violence, it is becoming more prevalent in the area.
“People are becoming aware that it’s not a problem that’s going away,” she said.
“I think it’s something that people have been aware of for quite some time, but now that we’ve seen some real instances of it, it’s starting to really become a public health issue.”
She said while she didn’t know how long it will take for the breed to catch up to its previous rate of attacks and fatalities, it could be as long as 10 years.