- Wednesday 12 November 2014
In a first for Queensland, a woman was yesterday fined $15,000 and convicted of grievous bodily harm in Caloundra Magistrates Court after her German Shepherd attacked an 82-year-old man and mauled his leg in August.
The dog had previously been declared dangerous and ordered to be muzzled when in public.
Magistrate Tonkin said the fine was a deterrent to the rest of the community and to show this behaviour – irresponsible dog ownership - was unacceptable.
She said the owner had an obligation to protect the public and had “clearly failed” to do that as she knew the dog was dangerous.
The owner of the dog was also ordered to pay court costs.
Sunshine Coast Council Manager Community Response Sheryl Krome said the court decision was significant as it was Queensland’s first case of a dog owner being convicted of grievous bodily harm as a result of a dog attack.
“I applaud the outcome which demonstrates the consequences of irresponsible dog ownership,” Ms Krome said.
“Council enforces the full extent of the law when it comes to irresponsible dog owners, and today’s outcome is clear testament to our zero tolerance stance.
“This 82-year-old man was out for a stroll, minding his own business, when the dog attacked him and mauled his calf.
“The dog had already been declared dangerous in NSW, where his owners reside, and should have been muzzled and under effective control.
“After obtaining evidence indicating the owners failed to adhere to the conditions for keeping a dangerous dog, council issued an order for the dog to be euthanised and the dog was surrendered to us.”
Ms Krome said people had the right to feel safe in their community.
“Council will do everything in our power to protect this right which could include fines up to $34,000 and the euthanasia of your dog,” she said.
“We’ve had 28 dog attacks reported on other animals and six dog attacks reports on people in the last month.
“We encourage people to continue to report these incidents as it means we can investigate, take appropriate action and work in partnership with the community.
“It’s time dog owners took responsibility of managing and controlling their animals so innocent people and pets are protected.
“Today’s case took the number of prosecutions this calendar year alone to 20.
“Another case, which involved three dogs attacking a jogger in Chevallum, is scheduled for later this month.”
In September, a woman was fined $2,000 after dogs she was walking attacked a groundsman at Maroochydore Rugby League Club in May.
Members of the community can contact Sunshine Coast Council on 5475 7272 to report an incident.
• Council Fines – Roaming, Dog off-leash in on leash area - $227
• Dog attack fines (maximum) issued by the court:
- Attack causing bodily harm to person or animal - $5692
- Attack causing death or grievous bodily harm to an animal - $11,385
- Attack causing death or grievous bodily harm to an person - $34,155.