Pet owner sentenced to 3 months jail for vicious dog attack
HUNTING dogs have been described by a police prosecutor in court as "lethal weapons" following two recent attacks in which owners set their animals on officers.
Sergeant Ken Wiggan was giving evidence yesterday in a case where the owner of one such dog - which bit a female Warwick police officer during an incident last month - was jailed for three months.
Damian Leonard Smith, 35, appeared before the Warwick Magistrates Court where he pleaded guilty to two counts of serious assault.
The court heard Smith was friends with several individuals who visited the home of a Warwick police officer on the night of the Australia Day holiday on January 28, and threatened to kill him.
On-duty police later confronted the group at Smith's residence, where they also encountered his bloodhound-bull mastiff cross.
Sgt Wiggan said the dog was "very protective" towards its owner.
The court yesterday heard Smith, who drunk 15 rum cans that day, felt the officers were "acting unreasonably" towards his friends.
Smith pushed a male officer in the chest with both hands and a "violent struggle" developed as the officer sprayed him with capsicum spray to subdue him.
Sgt Wiggan said moments later Smith incited his now-furious dog to attack, biting a female officer on the foot and forcing her to taser the animal, before it ran off.
Smith was taken into custody - where he continued to make threats to police - and the dog was later destroyed.
In submitting jail would be warranted, Sgt Wiggan referred to a similar incident earlier this week at Goondiwindi where a police officer was bitten by a 'pig dog'.
"In assaults on police, these dogs should be seen as another form of lethal weapon used by offenders," he told Magistrate Graham Lee.
Defence counsel Phillip Crook said his client had been highly intoxicated, observing that rum was the cause of many a violent incident, but said Smith believed he had been "calling the dog off" at the time.
Mr Lee said due to the level of intoxication he was more inclined to believe the version of events put forward in court by the police.
Mr Lee sentenced Smith to nine months jail with a parole release due on May 12, taking into account a fortnight spent in pre-sentence custody.
Smith was also convicted of unlawfully using an unregistered vehicle, relating to an incident during the January floods at Texas in which he was collecting his dog from a property at which he had been staying.