Dog
Dog

It’s not OK killer dogs are allowed out in public

YOU need a licence to drive a car, and one to own a firearm - so why is it OK for anyone to keep, and take into public spaces, an animal capable of seriously injuring or killing someone?

Dogs bred to hunt, attack and kill are not only in backyards and balconies across the Gold Coast, they're on our footpaths, in our parks and on our beaches.

They cannot be expected to forget these instincts with a few lessons of "sit" and "shake paw".

Perhaps, with intensive professional training, these breeds can be controlled to a level where they can be trusted not to randomly attack other dogs or people in the street or in their homes.

But if so, it's clear from the sheer number of attacks this training is not happening, and that owners are putting themselves, their families, and other people - at great risk.

Kathleen Perry, 62, was attacked by what she says was a Staffy-bull terrier cross while bringing in her bins. Picture: Glenn Ferguson
Kathleen Perry, 62, was attacked by what she says was a Staffy-bull terrier cross while bringing in her bins. Picture: Glenn Ferguson

While a push for harsher fines and increased patrols is a decent start, it does not go far enough.

It's time designated breeds, not just individual dogs declared as dangerous, required separate registration with mandatory professional training and inspections of where the animal will be kept.

Owners who wanted to keep killer breeds should pay the extra cost required to safely keep them and if they don't like that, they should choose a demonstrably safer breed.

Will a poodle, beagle or jack russell bite you? Maybe, but how likely are they to kill you?

Also speaking of policy change, and while it may be an unpopular opinion, it's past time to look at where some of these animals might be coming from.

The Animal Welfare League of Queensland, which provides rehoming services for the council's pound, is proud of it's zero-euthanasia policy, boasting the highest "save rates" in Australia and rehoming an average 800 animals every month.

A 13-year-old Cairns girl underwent emergency surgery after a vicious dog attacked while she was walking her two dogs. Picture: Facebook
A 13-year-old Cairns girl underwent emergency surgery after a vicious dog attacked while she was walking her two dogs. Picture: Facebook

While the dedication of the league's staff and volunteers is unquestioned, and its no-kill policy well-intentioned, a scroll through the dogs available for adoption makes you wonder how it's in anyone's interests to rehome the massive cross bred which "can be quite nervous initially with both people and other dogs".

It's been given a cute name and nice photo, but what about the large dog that needs a home with "no kids, or preferably older kids" or the animal that's "not recommended with little dogs or little people"?

Little dogs and little people exist in our public parks and on our beaches and they should be allowed to feel safe. Is the implication that these dogs should never leave their new homes if adopted?

At what point does public safety take priority over human desire to feel good about "saving" animals? The situation these dogs find themselves is not their fault, and the irresponsible humans who let them down are a blight, but that is not sufficient reason to inflict real danger upon the wider community.

Cr Hermann Vorster has called for harsher penalties for dog owners. Picture Glenn Hampson
Cr Hermann Vorster has called for harsher penalties for dog owners. Picture Glenn Hampson

Predictably, big dog owners have come out in vocal defence of their American staffies, ridgebacks, pitbulls and others, arguing their pet would never harm anyone.

The owner of the dog in Melbourne thought the same thing last week before his beloved animal, which "was never aggressive", tore out his invalid father's throat.

If you are happy to take a risk on a dog which could badly hurt or kill, fine, but you should be forced to pay to professionally train and securely keep it. Anything less is irresponsible.