We arrived home from a family dinner to find our beautiful Burmese cat, Cleo, mauled to death by two of our neighbour’s dogs. In the past, the dogs have dug many holes from under their side of the adjoining fence. We have constantly filled the holes in and blocked them off with rocks. There is only one place that the dogs were able to dig, and that was a very small patch near our garden composting bin. All the rest of the fence line is blocked off with a thick growth of ice plant and rocks. However this day, when we were out, the dogs dug a huge hole, and cornered our cat who had no escape from the patio in which she was sleeping in her cane chair. We could clearly see what had happened by the state of the patio. We are devastated. Cleo, our companion of 12 years, was in superb condition.
We immediately reported the incident to the police and to the local council, neither of whom would take any action. We considered the dogs to be aggressive and dangerous and were concerned for the welfare of our grandchildren who often play on the patio. In our experience, dogs such as these become killer dogs once they have killed an animal and progress from there to babies and children if given the chance.
We finally got action from the Council after my son rang their office and demanded to speak to the person in charge of dog legislation. My partner and I were too distressed to take the case up ourselves. The council came to our house the following day and inspected the large hole under the fence, but told us they could not take the dogs to the pound until the owners were home; access to the property had to be granted by the owners. This, I could see, was going to be a long, drawn out affair!
The next morning at 9.20 am the dogs dug another hole under the fence and began to jump up against the glass doors of our house. The owner had blocked up the first hole with a car wheel and bricks. I rang the council and twenty minutes later they arrived to catch the dogs. They managed to get a collar and leash on the Kelpie cross, but the huskie was another matter. It took several minutes for both of the officers to wrestle and grab the huskie’s neck with a shepherd’s crook, and then to secure a collar. The owners were home but would not answer the door. Apparently the owner remarked to the officers later that he didn’t know what all the fuss was about!
The Council has told us that if the owner admits his dogs killed Cleo, the dogs will be put down immediately. Otherwise, the Council will proceed to take the case to court and in 90% of cases, the judge rules that the dogs must be euthanised. We have taken many photos of the scene and these will be used in court if necessary. The scene where our beloved pet was killed, shows plainly the struggle she put up and how much she must have suffered. She did not have a chance with these two dogs. The owner is insisting it wasn’t his dogs! “They wouldn’t hurt anyone, they would lick them to death”. I can’t count how many times I have heard dog owners say this. They don’t get it do they?
The internet is full of instances where dogs have mauled babies, children and small pets. Not long ago two pet dogs in Australia took their owners’ new born baby out of its crib, ran out of the house with it, and ate it on the family’s front lawn. These were well cared for and loved pet dogs. In recent years in Australia and New Zealand, scores of young children have been maimed by pet dogs, not to mention adults. One girl I remember, had her face torn off while playing in a playground. When are councils going to bring in by-laws which make it illegal to keep large dogs in built up areas? We often walk around the conservation wetlands near our home, where there is much wild life in residence. We see owners letting their dogs run into the lakes and chase the swans, ducks and herons, to name a few. All dogs are required by law to be on leashes. Clearly, by-laws are not being enforced.