Irresponsible dog owners face court
  • Friday 22 August 2014

Two dog owners appeared in Nambour Magistrates Court today, continuing Sunshine Coast Council’s zero tolerance approach to irresponsible dog ownership.

Director Community Services Coralie Nichols said council had had enough of irresponsible dog owners and it seemed the court system felt the same way.

“Council is serious about enforcing  the full extent of the law – and the outcome of two court cases this morning are testament to this,” Ms Nichols said.

“The owner of a German Shepherd that attacked an 80-year-old man in Nambour in May was described by the magistrate today as not only careless but indifferent when he made no attempt to restrain his dog at all.

“The attack occurred when the elderly gentleman attempted to shoo the roaming dog away from a cat and resulted in significant injuries to the man's left leg and right arm in addition to multiple bruises and grazes.

"The dog has since been declared dangerous.

“His honour recorded a conviction in this case and imposed a single penalty on all charges amounting to $2500 plus court costs of $260.49 and professional fees of $1000.

“On top of this, the defendant will be given 35 days imprisonment if he fails to pay the charges within two months.

“The magistrate spoke of the need for the penalty to serve as a general deterrent to dog owners broadly as well as a specific deterrent to the defendant.”

In a second case, a dog owner did not register her two dogs despite numerous efforts by council.

“His honour noted the blatant disregard to comply with council’s attempt to get her to register dogs and be responsible," Ms Nichols said.

"The defendant received a $600 fine, in addition to the $86.80 court costs and $250 in professional fees,” she said.

“This would rate amongst the highest penalty we have seen on the Sunshine Coast for failure to register a dog.

“Today’s cases bring the number of prosecutions this calendar year alone to 17.

"Two other cases scheduled for today – one involving three dogs attacking a jogger in Chevallum and the other a dog causing serious injury to the groundsman at Maroochy Rugby League Club – have been adjourned to September.”

Ms Nichols said as a result of council’s tough stance on owners of dangerous and nuisance dogs, council was noticing a change of mindset from the broader community.

“While the number of reports over the past four of weeks has remained consistent – with 25 reported attacks on other animals and 11 on a person – we have found that people are becoming more diligent in alerting us to aggressive or roaming dogs and irresponsible dog owners,” she said.

“We welcome these calls as it means we can investigate as soon as possible, take appropriate action and work in partnership with the community.

“Residents may be interested to hear an update on the dog attack involving three dogs killing a dog and a cat in Buderim that brought council to the end of our tether when it comes to our public position on irresponsible dog owners.

“The dog surrendered to council has since been euthanised and earlier this week council issued a notice to the owners to have the two other dogs declared dangerous and euthanised. The owners have a two week period to appeal the matter.

“People have the right to feel safe in their community and council will do everything in our power to protect this right which could include fines up to $30,000 and the euthanasia of your dog.”