Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

It's the Owner Not the Breed That Makes a Dog a Danger; Owners Stand Up for Their Big Animals

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

It's the Owner Not the Breed That Makes a Dog a Danger; Owners Stand Up for Their Big Animals

Article excerpt

Byline: Campbell Gellie campbell.gellie@dailymercury.com.au

DOG owners have barked back at a columnist who claimed cattle dogs, bull terriers, dobermans, German shepherds and rottweilers should be banned.

Kerry Sackville based her opinion piece on research that found those dogs were responsible for 75% of all dog bites in Australia.

Despite that, those breeds are not seen on the restricted dog list, which has American pit bulls, dogo Argentina, fila Brasileiro, Japanese tosa and Presa Canario -- all known fighting dogs.

Ms Sackville wrote the column after news spread that 40-year-old owner Tamia Klemke was mauled and killed by her dog Simba on Wednesday morning in Canberra.

Ms Klemke was trying to save a male visitor from the dog when it attacked her. Police shot and killed the dog when they arrived at the home at 3.40am.

The dog was already known to authorities, had attacked before and was believed to be a restricted breed, news.com.au reported.

However, columist Ms Sackville while admitting she was not a dog person, said other large dogs should be banned because they also put people's lives at risk.

Responding on the Daily Mercury Facebook page, pet owners unanimously cried that they did not agree. Within 12 hours the post had more than 300 comments and had been shared more than 30 times.

People agreed that it was not the dog's fault but the owners responsibility to rear them in a way where they would not attack.

Making owners responsible is the focus for Mackay Regional Council, which on Wednesday introduced its new Animal Management Policy.

The policy focuses on pet owners registering their animals with the council and not allowing them to roam the streets freely.

There is even scope for the council to investigate fining people when their dogs are found roaming the streets, in a bid to prevent dogs biting people

After a dog has bitten someone or another animal they can be labelled as a "menacing" or "dangerous" dog, and if they attacked again they would be put down.

Currently there about 30 registered dangerous dogs in the region -- of 12,943 registered dogs. …

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