JUSTICE FOR DOGS

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Today we have seen yet another off leash dog attack an on leash (and harnessed) dog.

A dog named Hugo was being walked at the London Crescent Reserve, an ON LEASH ONLY park in Narre Warren with its owner, when an off leash dog ran up and attacked. The owner of the unleashed dog then proceeded to violently punch the leashed dog in the head to stop the fight, before fleeing the scene and not leaving their details, but leaving this poor dog dripping with blood. This happened earlier today, and now, at 9.35pm whilst i'm writing this, the poor dog that was attacked is still bleeding from his wounds inflicted by the off leash dog. All the owners of Hugo know, is that the attacking dog is called Diesel. (LINK TO VIDEO FOOTAGE OF ATTACK AT END OF PETITION) 

This has brought even more light to a HUGE issue we are facing Australia wide.
IRRESPONSIBLE DOG OWNERS.

In November you saw my petition to save Hero the Staffy from being put to sleep (euthanized), after being walked on leash in Pakenham with his owner and young child, and being attacked by 3 off leash dogs that ran up to him. Sadly, one of the smaller attacking dogs passed away due to this incident.
This was an incident that could have been avoided had the 3 dogs been secure in their yard.
But Hero was vilified and faced possible euthanasia because he defended himself.
This was an incident that fell SOLELY on the owners of the 3 escaped dogs that attacked him. And thankfully Hero was spared, and the council sought no action to Hero.

In May 2019, a chihuahua was mauled to death by a husky in Altona, at an off leash dog beach. The owner of the Husky took full responsibility and accompanied the family to the Vets where the chihuahua passed away.

In June 2019, a woman in her 20's was walking her Husky on lead down a local street, when a Rottweiler broke through the fence to its yard and ran up to them and mauled both of them. The owners of the Rottweiler whisked the dog away before authorities had a chance to seize it. The council ended up finding the owner and dog, and the situation was dealt with. 

An article found on google stated that "on Average there is 1 attack a week" in inner city Melbourne, by off leash dogs. This is just 1 vet clinic.
This is just the dogs that are injured enough to require vet attention.

If you are not in full control of your dog, and your dog has no recall when they're off lead, they should be on leads at all times. Any responsible dog owner knows their dogs behavior, and should treat them accordingly.

Our laws in Victoria (and indeed our whole country) need to be changed!
A dog attacking another dog off leash should fall onto the owner of the dog. Some dogs just don't like other dogs, but are good with people and other animals. As a dog owner, you should know whether your dog is flighty, nervous, snappy, friendly or aggressive when with or around other dogs.
A dog being euthanized should be a last resort.
I read on a lawyers website, that a council will try to talk the owner of a dog into euthanasia before even starting an investigation. HOW is this the correct practice?

As an owner it should be by law YOUR responsibility to have full control of your dog, if off lead this means your dog should be able to be recalled regardless of the presence of other dogs.

We need to stop blaming the dog and put more pressure onto the owners of these dogs.
It should be the OWNERS responsibility if a dog attack happens, and the OWNER should be liable! The dog should have to undertake a MANDATORY behavioral analysis paid for by the owner, to find the underlying issue as to why the dog attacked. If the dog fails this test and is aggressive by nature and indeed is a risk to people and other animals then and only then should euthanasia be an option. If the dog passes, then MANDATORY dog and owner training needs to be completed to ensure this doesn't happen again. The OWNERS need to be held accountable and pay the price for off leash dog attacks. These situations need to start being handled correctly!

If a dog is off leash and attacks another dog resulting in the attacked dogs death, then the attacking dog should be seized, undergo a MANDATORY behavioral analysis, if it passes it should have MANDATORY and relevant dog training (paid for by the owner), and if the council sees fit, the dog should go home with conditions, or it should be re homed to a home that will care for the dog properly.
An on leash dog that is defending itself and/or owner, and as a result the attacking dog dies from its injuries, the dog that was on leash should never be at risk of being euthanized. The owner was doing the correct thing (by council laws!) and walking their dog on leash.

As a dog owner, i do not take my dogs out doing the right thing by having them in harness and leash, and anticipate an off leash dog running up to me and attacking my dogs or myself. And i would hope that if my dogs defended themselves against the attacking dog, that they will NEVER be at risk of being euthanized due to the negligence of the off leash dogs owner. THIS SITUATION SHOULD BE FULLY PUT ON THE OWNER OF THE OFF LEASH DOG! NOT THEIR DOG!

If an off leash dog injures another dog or person, the off leash dogs owners should be liable for any and all damages and vet/hospital costs, including any ongoing treatment, and MANDATORY training for their dog as well as them, paid for by the owner.

EUTHANASIA SHOULD NEVER BE THE GO TO OR FIRST OPTION!!
Dogs attack for so many reasons! Environment, upbringing, fear, and there needs to be a behavioral analysis done before euthanasia is even an option.

Now lets talk about blaming certain breeds..... In some cases, more often than not, the breed of the specific dogs involved in attacks are highlighted and dwelled upon... "Staffies are a nasty breed", "Pitbulls are a vicious breed", but after hours of research, small dogs are actually just as likely (infact more likely) to bite someone. 
"Bad behaviors in small dogs typically cause less damage than in big dogs Thus people who love small dogs tend to tolerate bad behaviors in their pets. Take biting. If the researchers are correct, genes associated with aggression against people would be more likely to persist in small breeds than large breeds"
My point here is that ANY breed of dog can be aggressive and dangerous. NOT just larger breeds like Staffies, Pitbulls or Dobermans.
Breeding of dogs with unsuitable temperaments, inadequate socialisation with humans and other animals and inadequate training are all factors that contribute to dogs that may be aggressive. There is no scientific evidence that any particular breed of dog is more likely to attack people or other animals. 

We need to stop the Stigma that all larger dogs are vicious and scary. 
Personally, ive owned both large and small dogs... and let me tell you, my smaller dogs have been more yappy, more likely to nip if feeling threatened or feeling like i needed protecting, whereas my larger dogs would lick you to death. 

Please see our current laws, from the Victorian Current Acts..

DOMESTIC ANIMALS ACT 1994 - SECT 29
Offences and liability relating to dog attacks
S. 29(1) amended by No. 55/2011 s. 4(1).

(1) If a dangerous dog, that is not a guard dog guarding non-residential premises, or a restricted breed dog attacks or bites any person or animal, the person in apparent control of the dog at the time of the attack or biting, whether or not the owner of the dog, is guilty of an offence and liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 6 months or to a fine not exceeding 120 penalty units.

S. 29(2) amended by No. 55/2011 s. 4(1).

(2) If a dangerous dog, that is not a guard dog guarding non-residential premises, or a restricted breed dog attacks or bites any person or animal, the owner of the dog, if not liable for the offence under subsection (1), is guilty of an offence and liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 6 months or to a fine not exceeding 120 penalty units.

S. 29(3) amended by Nos 44/2010 s. 10, 55/2011 s. 4(2).

(3) If a dog that is not a dangerous dog or a restricted breed dog, attacks or bites any person or animal and causes death or a serious injury to the person or animal, the person in apparent control of the dog at the time of the attack or biting, whether or not the owner of the dog, is guilty of an offence and liable to a penalty not exceeding 40 penalty units.

S. 29(4) amended by Nos 44/2010 s. 10, 55/2011 s. 4(2).

(4) If a dog that is not a dangerous dog or a restricted breed dog, attacks or bites any person or animal and causes death or a serious injury to the person or animal, the owner of the dog, if not liable for the offence under subsection (3), is guilty of an offence and liable to a penalty not exceeding 40 penalty units.

S. 29(5) amended by No. 55/2011 s. 4(2).

(5) If a dog that is not a dangerous dog or a restricted breed dog, attacks or bites any person or animal and the injuries caused by the dog to the person or animal are not in the nature of a serious injury, the person in apparent control of the dog at the time of the attack or biting, whether or not the owner of the dog, is guilty of an offence and liable to a penalty not exceeding 10 penalty units.

S. 29(6) amended by No. 55/2011 s. 4(2).

(6) If a dog that is not a dangerous dog or a restricted breed dog, attacks or bites any person or animal and the injuries caused by the dog to the person or animal are not in the nature of a serious injury, the owner of the dog, if not liable for the offence under subsection (5), is guilty of an offence and liable to a penalty not exceeding 10 penalty units.

(7) If a dog rushes at or chases any person, the person in apparent control of the dog at the time the dog rushed at or chased the first-mentioned person, whether or not the owner of the dog, is guilty of an offence and liable to a penalty of not more than 4 penalty units.

(8) If a dog rushes at or chases any person, the owner of the dog, if not liable for the offence under subsection (7), is guilty of an offence and liable to a penalty of not more than 4 penalty units.

(9) In any proceeding for an offence under this section, it is a defence to that offence if the incident occurred because—

(a) the dog was being teased, abused or assaulted; or

(b) a person was trespassing on the premises on which the dog was kept; or

(c) another animal was on the premises on which the dog was kept; or

(d) a person known to the dog was being attacked in front of the dog.

(10) In any proceeding for an offence under subsection (3), (4), (5), (6), (7) or (8), it is a defence to that offence if the incident occurred as part of a hunt in which the dog was taking part and which was conducted in accordance with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 .

(11) If a person is found guilty of an offence under this section with respect to a dog the court may, in addition to any other order made by the court, order that the person pay compensation for any damage caused by the conduct of the dog.

S. 29(12) amended by No. 69/2017 s. 14.

(12) If a person is found guilty of an offence under this section with respect to a dog, the court may order that the dog be destroyed by a Council authorized officer of the municipal district in which the offence occurred.

NOW, Lets look at the recent dog attacks that we are aware of..... Have these laws been followed by our Local Councils? Have the owners of these dogs been charged? Have the proper procedures been followed in accordance with the laws currently in place?
We all need to put pressure onto Local and State government to ENSURE these laws are being followed! To help CHANGE the laws to actually hold owners ACCOUNTABLE for their actions! If you own a dog that does not get n with other dogs, do everything in your power to give your dog a happy life whilst not endangering other peoples animals, other people doing the RIGHT thing!!

To summarize my petition, i am wanting to bring Local Council, and State Government attention to where the laws surrounding off leash dogs is not working, and severely unjust for the dogs.
FULL accountability should be put on the owners of the off leash dog, and not straight away onto the dog itself. The current laws in place are NOT even followed majority of the time, euthanasia is the first point of call on far too many occasions!
We have to stand together and get things changed, and make these IRRESPONSIBLE dog owners held liable for their actions!

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