Diane Clare's shar-pei, Agatha, who was injured in an attack in 2018.
Diane Clare's shar-pei, Agatha, who was injured in an attack in 2018.

Two-year fight to clear ‘attack’ dog ends in defeat

A GOLD Coast dog owner has lost her two-year-long fight to stop a council declaring her family pet dangerous, after it was found to have twice attacked a smaller dog.

A tribunal member found Shelley Browne's desexed female Bull Arab-Mastiff cross, Indie, was the aggressor in a dog fight with a 13-year-old shar-pei in 2018.

Diane Clare told a tribunal she was walking her part-blind shar-pei, Agatha, on a leash in a Bundall park when two off-leash dogs began circling her and her dog.

She claims the two dogs came through a fence at Gladys Moncrieff Park at Bundall, and Indie attached itself to Agatha, without any provocation.

The dogs were able to be separated, with the help of others, but 30 kilogram Indie became loose and again latched onto 25 kg Agatha's back leg, injuring the dog.

An ambulance was called after Ms Clare, who had minor injuries from the incident, became distressed.

Diane Clare's shar-pei, Agatha, who was injured in an attack in 2018.
Diane Clare's shar-pei, Agatha, who was injured in an attack in 2018.

Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard that Indie and Ms Browne's other dog, a Labrador cross, had been taken to the park by a trained dog handler.

Ms Clare strongly denied a claim by the dog handler that her dog initiated the dog fight, by biting Indie.

Eye witnesses said Indie latched onto Agatha's leg, after breaking free, with one witness saying Agatha was "surrendering" and Ms Clare was trying to pull her dog away.

A tribunal member found that at some stage Agatha bit Indie, causing superficial injuries, but Indie bit the Sharpei a number of times, causing significant injuries.

The member said it was "a highly-charged emotional and physical interaction involving people and dogs".

Ms Browne told the tribunal Indie was an important part of her family and had always been well behaved and had played peacefully with her children.

She was concerned that as a declared dangerous dog, Indie would have to be muzzled when outside her property and would not be able to properly interact with people or other dogs.

 

Diane Clare's shar-pei, Agatha, who was injured in an attack in 2018.
Diane Clare's shar-pei, Agatha, who was injured in an attack in 2018.

 

The tribunal also heard from the dog handler and a dog day carer that Indie was always well behaved and had not previously shown aggression.

Veterinarian Dr Cam Day, who tested Indie's reactions to other dogs after the incident, said he could not confirm that Indie was a dangerous dog.

But the member said: "I am satisfied that Indie was the aggressor for almost the entirety of the incident."

After the dogs were separated, Indie went back and latched onto Agatha's back leg, the tribunal found.

The member said the aggressive and sustained initial action by Indie was an attack.

The member confirmed Gold Coast City Council's 2018 decision to declare Indie a dangerous dog.

"This is an unfortunate outcome for Ms Browne, who is very passionate about Indie," the member said on March 3.

"However, the legislation and the facts of this matter, do not allow for any other outcome."

Ms Clare today told the Courier Mail that since the attack she had not taken her still nervous dog off the lead and she would not go near off-leash dogs at parks.

"She's my baby," she said.

"We couldn't get away. We were surrounded," she said of the attack on Agatha, now 14.

"She was howling. The noise she made was more disturbing than anything."

Originally published as Two-year fight to clear 'attack' dog ends in defeat


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