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Thread: Victoria; Seized Dog's Future 'up to VCAT' *BUTCH IS HOME*!

  1. #1

    Default Victoria; Seized Dog's Future 'up to VCAT' *BUTCH IS HOME*!

    The Ballarat council says the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) needs to decide the future of a dog it confiscated.
    The pit bull was seized in September, after the owners failed to the register the dog in line with the State Government's new dangerous dog laws, which were introduced after a child was mauled to death in Melbourne.
    The council's chief executive, Anthony Schinck, says the laws required it to seize the dog.

    He says VCAT will need to decide whether the dog can be registered.
    "It really will be up to VCAT I suppose in terms of what [the] next practical action is and that will either be the dog cannot be registered here in Ballarat or that dog would need to be destroyed, which would be the least desirable outcome of all," he said.

    "This is all very new for us as well and that we need to secondly make sure that we do everything we can to at all times make sure that the community is as [safe as] possible when it comes to unregistered, restricted breed dogs out in the community."

    Seized dog's future 'up to VCAT' - ABC Ballarat - Australian Broadcasting Corporation

    Victoria's American Pit Bull Association is appealing against the seizure of a dog in Ballarat, under the State Government's new dangerous dog laws.
    Tough new dog restrictions were rushed through Parliament in September after a four-year-old girl was mauled to death in Melbourne.
    The Ballarat council seized a pit bull on the day the amnesty period for the registration of dangerous dogs ended.
    The American Pit Bull Association has taken the matter to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) in attempt to save the dog.
    Association president Colin Muir says the owners tried to register the dog and the council's actions were unfair.
    "This is a dog that is guilty of nothing other than the way it looks," he said.
    Mr Muir says the owners have been unfairly treated.
    "We are certainly going to be seeking that VCAT allow the dog be registered and returned to the owner," he said.
    It will be the first time the legality of the powers to seize dogs are tested.
    If the application fails the animal will be put down.

    Legal stoush erupts over seized pit bull - ABC Ballarat - Australian Broadcasting Corporation

    DAVID and Megan Thurston say they have been devastated by a decision to seize their pet pit bull terrier, Butch.
    The six-year-old red nose American pit bull terrier was taken from the Thurstons’ home in Canadian on Friday afternoon, just hours after the amnesty for dog owners to register restricted breeds came to a close.

    The dog is the first the City of Ballarat has seized since tough new laws on restricted breeds were introduced by the state government, aimed at ridding the streets of potentially lethal animals.

    But the Thurstons say it is just not fair.

    “We’ve tried to do the right thing and we’ve tried to do everything the right way.

    “We’re just devastated.

    “Our dog is like our baby, so it’s just like if one of your children or your mum or dad dies.”

    The Thurstons plan to appeal the decision.

    They say they were unable to register their dog, despite several attempts to do so over the phone and in person at the City of Ballarat offices. The amnesty on restricted dog breeds ended on September 29.

    The state government brought the deadline forward after a four-year-old girl was mauled to death by a pit bull cross in Melbourne in August.

    Councils across Victoria now have the right to seize and destroy unregistered restricted breed dogs.

    The changes mean that all restricted dog breeds – including pit bull terriers – must be registered, desexed, microchipped and kept in a secure location.

    A City of Ballarat spokesperson confirmed the dog had been seized.

    “It was known to council that a dog claimed by its owners to be a restricted breed was not registered by the expiration of amnesty,” the spokesperson said.

    “Council and police attended the home and collected the dog, which is currently impounded.

    “The owners have the right of appeal and council officers have spoken to the owners regarding this process.”

    In addition to losing their dog, the Thurstons could face a fine of almost $2500, under legislation currently before Parliament. The fine is double that of the previous penalty.

    A state government spokesperson said dog owners had 28 days to appeal a decision to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

    “If owners do not appeal within that time-frame, council officers have the power to destroy the dog,” the spokesperson said.

    What do you think of the new laws? Have your say below

    The spokesperson said local councils were in the process of identifying which dogs may or may not be restricted breeds.

    According to state government figures, there are 254 restricted breed dogs, 243 menacing dogs and 220 declared dangerous dogs registered in Victoria.

    Two dogs in Ballarat are now registered as restricted breeds, while 12 are categorised as dangerous.

    American Pitbull Terrier Club of Australia president Colin Muir, who is based in Ballarat, said there was a misconception around how dangerous the dogs actually were.

    He said most people thought there were many more dangerous dogs in the community than was actually the case. “There are not as many around as people think,” he said.

    The day after an amnesty on registrations ended, Ballarat City Council seized Butch, an unregistered six-year-old rednose American pit bull terrier.

    A council spokesman said David and Megan Thurston had tried to register Butch on the final day of the amnesty but lacked the full fee.

    Next day they returned but were told they were too late.

    That afternoon, the dog was seized.

    The president of the American pit bull terrier club of Australia, Colin Muir, said it was helping the couple take the case to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

    He said the couple were emotional. The dog, which had never been impounded and had never hurt anyone, has been at the local pound for more than a month.

    Mr and Ms Thurston had budgeted to pay for desexing and microchipping, and Mr Muir said they arrived to register the dog without enough cash because a council officer had incorrectly advised them of the cost.

    Mr Thurston offered to go home and get more money but was advised he could return the following day.

    "The owner, on that advice, went home. The next day, the council officer that told them that was nowhere to be seen and council officers kept the owner of the dog busy for an hour and went and filled out a warrant," Mr Muir said.

    "I think the council have been deceitful ... quite clearly that's wrong."

    Ballarat council chief Anthony Schinck said it would ask VCAT for time to assess the dog, "which we think is the minimum process that should be undertaken to give the owners a fair go.

    "No one is saying that this particular dog is dangerous. There have been no reported incidents around this particular dog," he said.

    He said the experience was traumatic for the couple and the council felt for them.

    "It's a horrible situation. We don't relish seizing anybody's pet ... in this case I think that we need to be really careful that there is new legislation that we need to comply with and there are serious public safety issues."

    Mr Schinck said the owners had not completed the registration application once told of the additional fee for registering a restricted breed dog, and a council officer had not told them they could pay the next day.

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    Ballarat pit bull saga continues
    05 Mar, 2012 10:20 PM
    A BALLARAT couple are becoming increasingly frustrated by long delays as they desperately try to bring their beloved pit bull home.
    David and Megan Thurston have been without their dog Butch for more than five months after he was seized just hours after the amnesty for dog owners to register restricted breeds came to a close last October.

    They are now fighting to stop Butch being put down.

    Yesterday the Thurstons’ lawyers appeared in the Supreme Court in Melbourne for a directions hearing, which was adjourned for another directions hearing next month.

    “There’s been hearing after hearing, today was the Supreme Court,” Mr Thurston said. “There seems to be a bloody hearing every week or every second week.

    “As far as I know Ballarat City Council won’t give up, they’re just not going to back down. They’re just fighting it to the max and for ridiculous reasons.”

    The couple have two legal proceedings under way, one in the Supreme Court of Victoria and one with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

    They allege that Butch is not a restricted breed, but if he is judged to be one, then they will challenge the council’s decision to refuse to register him. They are also seeking declaration that the council’s decision to seize and retain Butch was unlawful.

    “They said they’d use our dog as an example and they’re doing it. It’s just unfair,” Mr Thurston said.

    “He hasn’t even licked anybody out of place, or barked out of place. We haven’t seen him since (he was taken), he’s not our property any more. He’s sick, he’s got food allergies, and we’re not allowed any contact. We were at least buying him food while he was in Ballarat.”

    Pit Bull Association president Colin Muir said he was disappointed the council had acted “completely opposite” to their stated position, that they wanted to do everything they could to help the Thurstons.

    “The council has been given the ability to work their way through this, but they won’t engage which I think is an outright disgrace,” Mr Muir said.

    “The way the legislation is structured, prior to the changes if an owner appeals a matter it would be finalised in a maximum of 60 days,” he said. “Under the new system it goes through VCAT, which I think is better in some ways, but there is no end date in sight. There’s a huge cost to both council and the owners.”

    The City of Ballarat declined to comment.


    Council urged to let family access dog - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
    Council urged to let family access dog
    Updated April 17, 2012 14:03:44

    The American Pitbull Association of Victoria has called on the Ballarat council to give a family access to their dog that was impounded more than six months ago.

    The Thurston family's pitbull, Butch, was impounded by the council in September last year under dangerous dog laws.

    The council has refused the family access to their pet during a legal process.

    The association's president, Colin Muir, says the situation is bad for the animal's health.

    "Dogs are impounded for month, upon month while they are waiting to go through the court system and that is not good for the dog, it's not good for the owner and even the council, particularly when these are issues that could be dealt with fairly speedily," he said.

    First posted April 17, 2012 08:35:38


    The battle for Butch: council blows $100K on pit-bull dog fight

    The battle for Butch: council blows $100K on pit-bull dog fight

    Ballarat City Council has spent more than $100,000 in a drawn-out legal battle over the custody of a pet dog.

    Butch, the pit bull terrier, was finally returned to his owners on the weekend, more than 10 months after he was seized by council officers.
    We are very happy to have Butch home...Thank you to the public who have looked out for us during the long 10 months and 24 days.

    In an out-of-court settlement late last week, David and Megan Thurston, from the suburb of Canadian, won the right to keep their beloved red nose American pit bull terrier.

    They had not seen their dog for 305 days, as it was detained at an RSPCA shelter in Mornington.
    He returned home on Saturday, with strict guidelines imposed on his owners.

    In a brief statement, Mrs Thurston said the couple were overwhelmed by the support they received from the public.
    “We are very happy to have Butch home and want to thank all our family and friends for their support,” she said.
    “Thank you to the public who have looked out for us during the long 10 months and 24 days.”

    City of Ballarat mayor Mark Harris said it was unfortunate that the process had taken so long, but said the council did not have any other options.
    He said the council had the responsibility of upholding a state government law and that council officers acted appropriately in originally seizing the dog.
    Butch was seized in October last year, just hours after it became statewide law for restricted breed dogs to be registered with councils.
    He was unregistered at the time.
    “They (officers) did exactly what they should have done in acting out the letter of the law. If we had the time again, we would do it exactly the same,” Cr Harris said.
    “We couldn’t pursue it in any other way. People wouldn’t have wanted authorities like us to have too much leeway if we are in charge of prosecuting state government law.”

    Details of the VCAT hearing and subsequent out-of-court settlement remain confidential, but the council’s chief executive officer Anthony Schinck confirmed that the 10-month process had cost council “in excess of $100,000”.
    He said if the out-of-court settlement had not been reached, the case would most likely had gone as far as the Supreme Court.

    “From both party’s point of view, there was an enormous amount of work that went into this. In terms of being able to get to a resolution, it was something that council was not able to do of its own accord,” he said.
    “It’s the law, we had no other option but to adhere to the law, and part of council’s many responsibilities is that we are the caretaker of a lot of different legislation.”

    Pit Bull Association president Colin Muir said it was a great result and thanked the Barristers Animal Welfare Panel for their assistance.
    Last edited by Beau; 08-21-2012 at 01:58 PM.
    If you find yourself going through hell; Don't stay. Just keep on going.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    South West WA


    So that dog hadn't actually done anything at all to anyone or anything? The cops and council when in to it's home and took it away from its owners purely because it was a pitbull???

    What the f----. I'm so outraged I am speechless!
    Owning a dog should be a partnership. Much like a good marriage it should be based on love, trust and devotion until death do you part.
    R.I.P Dali: 10th May 1998 – 20th December 2011

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009


    Unfortunately like it or not the law is in place, it was thier responsibilty to have the dog registered by the specified date, clearly they havent now theyre at the mercy of VCAT. Lucky for them though VCAT is probably one of Victorias biggest shambles anyway.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011


    Hang on, they tried to register their dog over the phone. What went wrong. And how did the council know that there was a dog living there and that the owners claimed was a restricted breed? Sounds dodgy to me and as if they were on standby to find someone to make an example of.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    SE QLD


    Yep something is not right with this story... either the council have purposely done this or they owners are making up poorkies. Still the dog has done nothing wrong, why should it be PTS?

    There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

  6. #6


    Such is Life
    Last edited by Rid****; 12-11-2011 at 09:42 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009


    Wow people, your conspiricy theories crack me up surely you understand its the owners responsibilty, no one to blame here but them.
    Wow ive agreed with both Rid and Angelanbatty in one week, whats going on???

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011


    If the council says you can register your dog over the phone and it does not work, whose fault is it? And if they then used this information to go and seize this dog hours after the amnesty ended, how does that in any way contribute to reducing dog attacks? It's a token gesture and I hope the owners can prove that they were not at fault.

  9. #9


    Such is Life
    Last edited by Rid****; 12-11-2011 at 09:42 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Rural NSW


    Agree that it was up to the owners to do it but in their shoes, if I was told it was ok to finish the payment next day, I would have believed them.

    Mind you I would never have waited to the last minute.

    Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.

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