Opinion

Dog attack: whose fault?

Phill Wielson with his Hungarian Visler Hugo
Phill Wielson with his Hungarian Visler Hugo Lahnee Thomas

AFTER two dog attacks in Montville this month, locals are questioning whether the owner or the dog is to blame.

This comes at a time when the State Government has released a discussion paper reviewing the current laws governing the state's cats and dogs.

Proposed changes to the act would put further responsibility on councils to fine owners and euthanase dogs, which injured a person or another animal.

Former Sunshine Coast dog obedience trainer Rosemary Naughton started dog obedience classes on the coast in 1972. She said you could not tell if a dog was dangerous by looking at it.

"We need to get over the thinking that a dog is vicious just because of its size, jaw size and breed," Ms Naughton said.

"The two most vicious dogs I have ever come across, in more than 30 years of training, were a golden retriever and corgi.

"Every dog should be taught basic manners and have basic training and that would stop a lot of these attacks.

"It is up to the owners to ensure their dog, no matter what the breed, gets basic training."

One of the key discussion points in the government paper is how dogs should be classified and whether councils should be allowed to destroy any dog automatically deemed "dangerous" because of an attack.

The discussion paper also outlined the possibility of allowing councils to give on-the-spot fines or compliance notices to owners, who allow their dogs to behave dangerously in public.

Maleny resident Phill Wielson has had his Hungarian Vizsla, Hugo, for six years.

He questions what behaviour is considered "dangerous" in public.

"I would not let young children or anyone just come up and pat Hugo because he might snap," Mr Wielson said.

"But that is not because he is dangerous.

"In my opinion smaller dogs can start just as much trouble as bigger dogs. It's just that because they are smaller, they don't do as much harm.

"Basically, owners should not take dogs on unless they are willing to put in the hard yards and train them.

"When I took Hugo to training I was the one scolded because I had an intelligent dog but had trained him badly.

"It was hard to hear but they were right."The discussion paper is available at dlgp.qld.gov.au. Submissions close on April 16.

Topics:  dog attack, maleny, montville


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