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Thread: Dangerous Dogs

  1. #1

    Default Dangerous Dogs

    Hi guys, need a little bit of help here, any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    I have a 20 month year old pure bred German Shepherd, Male, desexed.
    Last week we were at the dogs beach in Point Lonsdale Vic, we were playing together off lead for a good 40 minutes we encountered many other dogs and people whom he played with with no trouble what so ever.
    At this point a lady jogger was jogging towards us, she ran in between my dog and I (a distance of about 3 to 4 metres), we were engaged in play and Duke (my dog) had his ball in his mouth, as the lady ran between us Duke got intrigued and went in to have a sniff when he did this the lady screamed "get away" in a high pitched voice and kicked her leg out at him, not making contact but it was a clear kick out. This I think frightened Duke and he then bit the lady resulting in 5 stitches to the ladys leg.
    This is totally out of character for our dog, we are regulars at the off lead beach and have never seen any signs of aggression from him before, when we told our obedience instructor she was in total shock not understanding where this could of come from.
    After the incident I walked the lady back to her car (during a tirade of insults, which I copped on the chin) , made sure she had all of my details so she could get in touch with me and offered to pay her medical expenses and do the right thing.
    In the aftermath the lady has contacted the council and despite not wishing to take it to court the council has now submitted to declare our dog as a "Dangerous Dog", the legislation states that a dog that causes any laceration should be deemed a "Dangerous Dog".
    Now if this is approved by the council, we will need to build our dog a mesh enclosure, concrete slab floor, 1.8 metre high with a floor space of 10sq metres, this is virtually impossible for us, we are renters and cannot erect a permanent structure, nor do I wish to, our dog is enclosed safely in our back yard and has never gotten out.
    I am of course going to appeal the findings of the council, they have not come to see the dog to do an evaluation nor have they forwarded on medical reports of any kind, and I feel I will be able to appeal the decision based on accidental provocation.
    i am not condoning my dogs behaviour, but I feel I have taken all the necessary steps to bring up a safe and loving dog and think this is a one off accident.
    He has been for obedience classes, been regularly socialised with other people and other dogs and we have never had a problem with aggressiveness.
    Another thing I am worried about if I do have to build a mesh cage for our dog is the fact this could also lead to separation anxiety which could cause barking and in turn would cause trouble with our neighbours.
    Has anyone got any advice they could offer?, we are very distraught about the whole situation and like I said am not condoning his behaviour however we are taking the necessary steps to address the issue not like some irresponsible dog owners who choose to ignore the problem.

    Many thanks for taking the time to read all this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008


    I'm sorry, I have no advise for you, I am sure other's here could help you I do think you did a great job of making sure the lady was OK, giving all your details, offering to pay medical etc...good responsibilty on your behalf.

    I hope you can clear this up and come out of it with the results that work in a good way for your dog. I too would be concerned about your dog needing to be "caged"...I think this would cause further problems as you mentioned.

    Wishing all the best

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Rural NSW


    I am sorry, I have none either but I would just like to say how responsibly and well that you handled the situation with the woman and responsible dog ownership and training. I wish you luck in appealing the situation. Would getting reports from the instructor help? You have probably already thought of this though.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Formally Warrandyte, now Windsor VIC


    Hi Al,

    What a horrible experience! I really feel for you. Sounds like you have taken all steps to socialise and train your dog, you were at an appropriate off leash area and did everything possible to help the woman.

    I wasn't aware of these repercussions, I also rent and building such a structure would not be feasible. I would hope that there would be some assessment of the dog or the opportunity for your trainer to make a reference. It also sounds like the woman involved is not trying to make a huge deal about it.

    I can not begin to imagine how difficult this time is for you.

  5. #5


    Thanks everyone for the words of encouragement.
    yes our trainer is going to write us a reference.
    The lady involved has been relatively good about it, she has told the council to keep it out of court which is a great thing to do.
    Its just the council who is taking these steps now, it makes me wonder, does the the enforcement officer have formal training in these situations.
    The officer did tell me this is the first time this particular council has had to deal with a dangerous dog case, I fear they may try to make an example of our dog.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008


    I know things change...and all councils are different, but I think what they are wanting you to do is a bit over the top!

    A friend of mine has a council declared dangerous dog...they must have the councils "dangerous dog" signs on all their gates and their dog has to wear a yellow and red striped collar. That's concrete floors and mesh ect.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    I think the inside of your house would probably meet the requirements for the enclosure. But you may also be able to build one with a sand and then a plastic bag foundation, ie put a thick layer of plastic eg a tarp between the sand foundation and the concrete - so when you move you can take up the concrete. Concrete pavers would be better. It seems like a nuts rule. But I've got the gas meter in the back yard so meter readers may come in and I'm sure they'd want the dog in a secure cage. I know one likes dogs and another who is scared of them. Both rang the door bell when they saw the "beware of dog" sign.

    I managed to move a gate so the electricity meter reader didn't need to come in the back yard.

    As for councils, I don't know how vigilant yours is but ours is fairly useless when it comes to making sure buildings comply with their own planning requirements etc. They warn people but don't do any followup and threats of lawyers tend to make them clear off.

    I can't believe the whole thing came about because some jogger who was scared of dogs, ran between you and your dog. Bad idea at any time but not everyone understands how dogs operate.

    I guess I will need to be more careful with my dog around joggers, it could so easily happen to me. She likes to have a bit of a sniff and run with the occasional jogger though she mostly ignores them. I also stopped her trying to "heel" them when she was little. She still chases me and grabs her lead rope or sometimes my jacket though. I think that might have to stop but not sure how I'm going to catch her if we can't play chase-me.

    Some council staff can be very rules bound - and follow what is written no matter what. You might want to have a discussion with your elected council rep about mitigating circumstances - though some people would argue, when it comes to dogs, no mitigating circumstances.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Devonport, Tasmania


    If only the lady hadn't jogged between you and your dog! I can't believe anyone is thoughtless enough to do that, little own when the dog is in mid-game. But maybe she just didn't know.

    My advice to you is to stay as calm and polite as you can with the local council/ officials. It may get to the stage that that is a huge ask, but staying calm and polite will help your case in the end, even when all you want to do is scream and yell at them!

    I guess the bottom line is that the dog has now bitten a human, regardless of whether it was provoked or NOT, or what the reason and circumstances were. I am almost certain that you will not have much luck fighting that one in a court of law.

    I would gather together as much info/affidavits as you can regarding the exemplary behaviour of your dog up to date, and his proven temeperament so far. It may help go towards any final decision or leniency the council officials decide upon.

    Best of luck with such a horrendous experience, and hugs to you.

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by Devil's Advocate View Post

    I guess the bottom line is that the dog has now bitten a human, regardless of whether it was provoked or NOT, or what the reason and circumstances were. I am almost certain that you will not have much luck fighting that one in a court of law.
    And this is pretty much the crux of the matter .

    He must of really got a fright if he bit well enough to require 5 stitches. I understand that some dogs will react differently in fearful situations but I'm having trouble seeing how that correlates here?

    Your dog had seen the lady,dog had slowed down for a sniff ,dog still bit after a scared lady reacted. Why did you not call your dog off when you first heard her cry out to get away ?
    So in another situation , someone raising a hand or a leg to the dog is going to be attacked?

    I think you will need to start getting ready for the Dangerous Dogs regulations.
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  10. #10


    Hey Alan1979.

    So sorry for your dilemma. But the council will side with the victim here, until provided with both sides of the story. This is a litigious soiety that we live in, and government agencies will always err on the side of caution.

    A bite is a serious matter. You need to look into legislastion in your State and find out where you stand. If you're confused let me know and I'll point you to your relevant legislation for reference.

    Yu may need to act fast, as some dog legislation has strict time periods to comply with.

    Best of luck.

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