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Thread: HELP NEEDED to convince council my dog is not a menace

  1. #1

    Default HELP NEEDED to convince council my dog is not a menace

    I live in Sydney's eastern suburbs and over the years my dog has been bitten a few times; dogs are dogs. My large size desexed (not BSL) 7 year old dog got into a scuffle with a neighbour's dog when it was passing our entrance. It got a nick, she called the ranger, I got fined and my dog sent for assessment. He passed without problem as he is not aggressive, but is a dog! Twelve months have passed and now a woman says my dog attacked hers in the park. Mine was laying on the ground next to my husband when her dog came over and there was a scuffle. Whether her small dog attacked mine or visa verso I don't know. The woman was 20 metres away. She rang the ranger and now he is going to be classified as a menace, meaning he has to wear a muzzle. I am going to fight this unfair charge and am interested in talking to anybody who can offer help. Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Adelaide
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    Mine was laying on the ground next to my husband when her dog came over and there was a scuffle.
    Can you prove this.

    Her dog must be "under effective control" and not harass people or dogs. But you have to prove that her dog harassed yours and yours was protecting your husband and acted "reasonably".

    Personally I would do all I can to prevent this kind of thing. Eg I know my dog can be protective, so I put her on lead if there are other dogs around that she might not get along with (any unknown dog with a curly coat at the moment). I also put her on lead if there are small children around - it's just not worth the risk that parents will make accusations. There is no "innocent until proven guilty" for dogs. If someone had called the ranger on my dog before - and I'd been fined... I would put the muzzle on her in public - before she gets declared menancing - at least I wouldn't have to build a cage for her at home.

    The people who would know best - how to appeal or prevent decisions against your dog - would be the animal management people at your local council. They would get lots of vexatious unfounded complaints as well as the valid ones.

    COMPANION ANIMALS ACT 1998 - SECT 16 Offences where dog attacks person or animal

    You're looking to get your dog off on the exceptions list eg
    (2) It is not an offence under this section if the incident occurred:
    (a) as a result of the dog being teased, mistreated, attacked or otherwise provoked, or

    (b) as a result of the person or animal trespassing on the property on which the dog was being kept, or

    (c) as a result of the dog acting in reasonable defence of a person or property,
    or (snip stuff about police dogs and working stock)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    Townsville, QLD
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    Yeah, was there anyone else around at the time that could be a witness? Even if you don't know them, if you hang around that same spot at around the same time you might see them there again and can approach them. If it's the ladies dog that approached yours, regardless of which dog acted first, then as Hyacinth said, it's her fault.

  4. #4

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    Thank you for your advice. The incident did happen in a leash free park. We are going ask a solicitor to write a letter so that council knows we are serious about defending the charge. We can not afford to have him found guilty as it is a lifetime charge!
    Update: Solicitor thinks I don't stand a chance because dog has attacked twice. Find a different solicitor or just put forward the argument myself?
    Last edited by doortolife; 07-30-2014 at 01:14 PM.

  5. #5
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    Adelaide
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    doesn't matter if it's a leash free park - the other lady has to have her dog under effective control and not harassing or picking fights with other dogs - there's probably something to that effect printed on the gate.

    PS you might be able to get help finding the right lawyer with these guys

    https://www.facebook.com/DogsOnTrialDOTVictoria

    there are lawyers who seem to be more knowledgeable about dog law than others.

    PPS you might also get a good recommendation and help with your dog from
    Steve Courtney at k9pro.com.au

    http://k9pro.com.au/services/#contact
    Last edited by Hyacinth; 07-30-2014 at 04:46 PM.

  6. #6
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    Aug 2011
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    Canberra
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    Did the first incident happen on your property? It sounds like both cases might be similar and therefore the 2nd time argument may not be valid? I'd try get some advice from people with experience in menacing/dangerous dogs city court cases.

    Good luck! I hope you can fight this decision.

    I would also recommend finding a trainer to help with your dog's reactivity. If he lashes out when he feels threatened, there are likely some things you can do to train an alternative reaction. And also learn what your best response is as the handler in those situations.
    Last edited by Beloz; 07-30-2014 at 07:29 PM.

  7. #7

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    Will let you know what happens next. Have contacted Dogs on Trial in Victoria.

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Adelaide
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    NSW is quite a bit better than Vic when it comes to getting a dog re-assessed as not dangerous, but this is the second time around for your dog so you will need some help. And I would be doing everything I could to prevent any possible repeat - even if it isn't your dog's fault.

  9. #9

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    Very interested in to where this is up to if anywhere ?
    Please feel free to message me by PM if you prefer.
    GageDesign Pet Photography
    Site still in construction so will post link when it's finished.

  10. #10

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    Dogs on Trial in Victoria weren't able to refer me to anyone in NSW who could help. I took up a petition of over 80 people who know my dog (he is very social) and delivered it to Council. No response, waste of time. After Council notifies you of their intention to make an order you you have only one month to object, after that the order is final. He has now been declared a Menacing Dog. The Act says no objection can be lodged for 12 months after the order is made. I employed a solicitor who wrote a letter and spoke to Council. He deals with bad people but not dogs and it was a waste of money. He then went away on holidays, didn't respond again to Council so they issued the order. At that point I read the relevant parts of the Act.
    So now we have a dog who has to wear a 50mm wide red and yellow reflective collar, a muzzle and a lead. Also we must have a sign visible from the street saying "Warning Dangerous Dog". This is a state wide order so we are thinking of leaving NSW. After 12 months we will apply to have the order lifted and come home. My 80 year old husband is very distressed but we feel we don't have any choice unless we just don't socialise the dog. This is such a over reaction by Council and having a larger dog is going to harder as time goes by.
    My advice is if there is any sort of trouble, get your complaint into council before the other person does. They believe the first person. If there is more than one incident reported, you are up the creek. Don't waste money on a solicitor unless they have a dog and are very sympathetic.

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