New bite in dog laws
NEW State Government dog control laws are proving to have a lot more bite – and with vastly increased penalties, they are already putting a big bite on dog owners found to be in breach of them.
This week’s meeting of Gympie Regional Council’s Community and Economic Development Committee heard news of one penalty exceeding $3000 – and that was for a dog found only to have attacked another animal.
“We’ll see what happens when a dog attacks a person,” council’s compliance co-ordinator Ron Potter told the meeting.
The penalty imposed, partly under the new law, on September 16, totalled $3048.78, made up of a $1200 fine, professional and court costs of $735.90 and $1112.88 restitution to the owner of the injured dog.
Mr Potter said it was the first prosecution under the new Animal Management Act and would set a precedent for subsequent prosecutions.
The penalty compares to one totalling $1225.90 on September 2, made up of a $550 fine and professional and court costs of $675.90.
Even though the earlier matter did not include restitution, it was still substantially less than the penalty in the second case, with restitution removed.
In both cases a dog owner was found to have breached council requirements that animals must be kept inside an enclosure at all times.
The first case also involved a breach of the council local law that an offence is committed “where the dog attacks or worries another person, animal or thing.”
The second involved the new state laws which requires owners to take “reasonable steps to ensure that a dog does not attack, or act in a way that causes fear to someone else or another animal.”
The case follows a report in The Gympie Times on October 6, in which some McIntosh Creek residents said they were afraid to walk down the street after a recent dog attack.
One said her neighbour had been on his regular early morning walk and was found along the road less than a kilometre from his McIntosh Creek Road home.
The man, who wished to remain anonymous, described the dog as “savage, large and brown.”
It had bitten the man on the leg, causing serious bleeding, with a second similar attack when the man turned to walk home.
“He said the dog was so savage if he had fallen he was sure it have killed him,” one neighbour said. “Luckily, a good Samaritan saw he was in trouble, picked him up and took him to hospital.”