Warwick Police officer-in-charge Acting Senior Sergeant Shane Reid and Southern Downs Regional Council local laws officer Ray Lambert urge dog owners to restrain their animals or face penalties.
Warwick Police officer-in-charge Acting Senior Sergeant Shane Reid and Southern Downs Regional Council local laws officer Ray Lambert urge dog owners to restrain their animals or face penalties.

Vicious animals risk to children

A HORSE, sheep and even other dogs have been savaged: it’s only a matter of time before one of Warwick’s many stray canines turns on a small child, police have warned.

But despite averaging 23 complaints a month in the first quarter of 2010, the Southern Downs Regional Council only has one full-time Animal Control Local Laws Officer based in Warwick and one part-time officer in Stanthorpe.

Warwick Police officer-in-charge Acting Senior Sergeant Shane Reid told the Daily News police and council had received a number of complaints recently concerning unrestrained dogs attacking animals.

“We want to remind dog owners that the security of their dogs is their responsibility and they must adhere to all council laws at all times,” Act Snr Sgt Reid said.

He further warned that if police were called to a dog attack, police officers may be forced to take matters into their own hands.

“If a dog is threatening injury or death to another animal or person, police may take immediate action resulting in the destruction of the dog,” Act Snr Sgt Reid said.

Although Warwick Police are yet to take such drastic action, Act Snr Sgt Reid said they would have no hesitation in doing so to protect those in danger.

“Unrestrained dogs have already attacked a horse, a sheep and another dog locally – it only takes a child on a bike to be knocked over and attacked... we don’t want to see that happen,” he said.

Act Snr Sgt Reid also warned careless dog owners that people could take civil legal action for injuries from a dog attack or compensation for lost stock.

Figures released to the Daily News yesterday by council showed an alarming number of complaints between January and March, including seven dog attacks on people and other animals.

An SDRC spokeswoman said in the event of a dog attack, depending on the seriousness or if injury had been inflicted they would send an officer to investigate.

“A dog rushing at a fence at a passer-by is also classified as a ‘dog attack’ – in this case an officer would not investigate immediately, but it would be investigated within 48 hours of receiving the complaint,” the spokeswoman said.

“We investigate complaints from rushing at a fence, right through to maiming of livestock.”

After council investigation and written warnings, fines are calculated according to ‘penalty units’ – equating to $100 per penalty unit.

“(Fines are given) depending on the offence and the number of penalty units attributed, for example a dog attack would be a higher fine than a barking dog fine,” the council spokeswoman said.

Animal control complaints

Council has received the following complaints between January to March 2010:

Stray dogs: 27

Dog attacks including on people and other animals: 7

Aggressive dogs: 4 (one chasing children in Maryvale, three large dogs chasing sheep in Stanthorpe and four attacking/aggressive dogs in Amiens)

Barking dogs: 12 (including a noise complaint about the Warwick pound)

Cattle on road/in garden: 6

People not picking up dog faeces: 1

Other complaints: 11 (including horses kept in backyards, rooster in town, feral cats, unregistered dogs and chickens wandering onto a neighbouring property)



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