New year, same resolution against irresponsible dog owners
  • Thursday 15 January 2015
Australian Shepherd, Sheba, prior to the attack

Sunshine Coast Council continued its ‘zero tolerance’ approach to irresponsible dog owners today, with a Coolum man fined $2,675 by the Nambour Magistrate Court after his Staffordshire cross mauled an Australian Shepherd.

When handing down the judgement to Kai Hamilton, Magistrate Annette Hennessy said the penalty needed to be substantial taking all factors into account and act as a general deterrent appropriate to the circumstances.

The defendant pleaded guilty and was fined $2,000 for two offences – failing to prevent his dog from causing injury to another animal and failing to maintain minimum containment standards – in addition to the court and professional costs of $673.60.

He also offered to pay the vet bills.

Director Community Services Coralie Nichols said council’s ‘zero tolerance’ stance against dangerous dogs had not waivered entering a new year. 

“Today’s matter demonstrates careless and negligent behaviour on the part of the owner, which is an all too common factor behind many dog attacks,” Ms Nichols said.

“The defendant’s dog, Mia, escaped her property and managed to enter a neighbouring yard where she viciously attacked much loved family dog, Sheba.

“Thankfully, neighbours entered the yard and broke the dogs apart after hearing noises and witnessing Mia biting the stomach and back legs of Sheba.

“The defendant admitted his back fence was in a bad state and that his dog had escaped on many occasions prior to this incident.

“Sheba required surgery for the serious injuries she incurred and was hospitalised for five days.

“Dog owners need to be aware that dogs can be unpredictable and even a small moment of inattention can lead to tragic and often heartbreaking consequences for others.

“Please take responsibility for your dog by ensuring it is on a leash and under control in public at all times, that  your home is adequately fenced so your dog cannot roam, that your dog attends socialisation and training programs, is desexed and is registered with council.

“Council holds owners responsible for their dogs’ unacceptable behaviour and we will not rest until all avenues have been pursued to the full extent to prosecute offenders and create a safe community for everyone and their animals.”

Another case involving a dog owner failing to prevent his three dogs escaping the property, attacking two people and killing a dog and cat in Buderim in August 2014 was deferred.