Rippa the german shepherd with Paula Dixon’s grandson.
Rippa the german shepherd with Paula Dixon’s grandson.

Councils fight for tougher dog laws after savage attacks

A savage dog attack on a german shepherd dog last year and the mauling of an 11-year-old boy have forced a two local councils to push for tougher dog laws.

Redland City Council along with Moreton Bay Regional Council want the state government to overhaul and tighten its 12-year-old dog legislation including increasing fines.

They want the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008 amended to give them greater control and to speed up the prosecution process through the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Councils' laws only apply to the general keeping of animals, not regulated and dangerous dogs.

The push followed a plea by Thornlands dad Geoff Helmrich whose 11-year-old son Joseph had to have surgery after receiving two puncture wounds from a dog in 2018.

The campaign was reignited after the death of German shepherd Rippa, who was attacked by two Staffordshire terriers while on a walk with his owner in Alexandra Hills in May last year.

Rippa's owner Paula Dixon said she was appalled the Redland pound allowed the two dogs involved in the attack to go home as there were no other records of them offending and they could be enclosed in a fenced property.

Rippa the german shepherd who was attacked by two dogs at Alexandra Hills.
Rippa the german shepherd who was attacked by two dogs at Alexandra Hills.

The attacking dogs' owner was fined $261 for each dog for failing to keep them in an enclosure and both dogs were declared dangerous requiring them to be muzzled in public.

Each dog must be in the control of someone who has no other dogs when outside of the property.

"That was all the council could do under the legislation and then it could take months for the matter to go through the legal appeals process," Ms Dixon said.

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"The bottomline is that dangerous dogs are allowed to go back into the community while the legal process goes ahead and that needs to change because that is too slow.

"We have received notification to say those two dogs are no longer in the community."

Redland City councillor Tracey Huges took up the fight and has organised for the council's request to be presented to this year's Local Government Association of Queensland annual meeting in October.

Redland councillor Tracey Huges with Ruby the dog.
Redland councillor Tracey Huges with Ruby the dog.

She said a review of the state Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008 would strengthen some of council's existing provisions, including those relating to penalty infringement notice offences and regulated dog enclosures.

"What happened to Paula Dixon's dog should never have happened and we want to make sure the right laws are in place," Cr Huges said.

"The impact to those involved in a terrifying dog attack is long lasting and extremely traumatic.

"The councils are working together to support a concerted call on the state government to review this 12-year-old Act to give our frontline council officers greater clarity, strength and real time ability to protect our community.

"We have not stipulated any increase in fines but that would be part of the tougher measures we would want to see as the current Act has limitations and inefficient processes especially for reviewing regulated dog declarations and destruction orders."