Zero tolerance to irresponsible dog ownership continues
  • Friday 19 September 2014

Another irresponsible dog owner experienced the consequences of Sunshine Coast Council’s zero-tolerance approach in Nambour Magistrates Court this morning.

Director of Community Services Coralie Nichols said the results of the court hearing sent another clear message to irresponsible dog owners.

“Council is serious about enforcing to the full extent of the law – and the outcome of today’s court case of a dog causing serious injury to a groundsman at Maroochy Rugby League Club is testament to this,” Ms Nichols said.

“The magistrate recorded a conviction in this case and imposed a $2000 total penalty on all charges plus ordered court costs of $173.60 and professional fees of $750.

“He took into account the defendant’s elderly age, the fact she had no previous incidents in relation to the dogs, and that she showed remorse.

“Reference was made to the fact whether the elderly defendant, who was walking three dogs, two of which were very large strong dogs, was capable of controlling them at the time of the incident. It is important that residents ensure they have the right dog for their circumstances.”

Today’s case took the number of prosecutions this calendar year alone to 18, Ms Nichols said.

“One other case scheduled for today – one involving three dogs attacking a jogger in Chevallum – has been adjourned to November,” she said.

“When council announced enough was enough when it came to irresponsible dog owners we meant it and it would seem the court system feels the same way.”

Ms Nichols thanked the broader community for keeping council informed about dogs acting aggressively towards people or animals.

“Council has had 35 dog attacks reported on other animals and 14 dog attacks reports on people in the last month,” she said.

“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.

“I want to reinforce this important message that 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 $34,000 and the euthanasia of your dog.”

Members of the community can contact Sunshine Coast Council on 5475 7272 if they wish to report an incident.

Further general information
There are a number of precautions dog owners can take to mitigate the possibility of aggressive behaviour occurring, including:
• Ensuring dogs are appropriately trained and socialised
• Supervising children when in the company of dogs at all times
• Using a leash when walking a dog in public
• Supervising and controlling off leash activity at all times
• Providing adequate fencing to ensure the dog cannot escape.

If approached by an aggressive dog, it is recommended to:
• Stand still. Cross your arms or keep them by your side with your fingers curled
• Look at your feet, not the dog
• When the dog walks away, slowly back up then walk away. Don't run.

Dog attack on a person or animal
If a dog attacks a person or another animal, there are a number of steps to follow:
• Report the incident as soon as possible to council's customer service centre
• Describe the dog and any registration or owner details. Provide sufficient details to allow for a thorough investigation
• Advise if the animal is still at large so council can try to impound it to ensure it doesn’t cause further injuries
• Seek medical/veterinary attention. Ask the doctor or vet for a statement of attendance to record the visit
• Take photographs of any injuries
• Write a statement of events as soon as possible after the incident
• Council has the ability to seize any animal that is considered a threat to community safety.