Magistrate orders rampaging Staffy be destroyed

A magistrate has ordered the destruction of an American Staffordshire bull terrier-cross after repeated serious incidents in Melbourne.
Nanjing Night Net

Five-year-old Duke’s misbehaviour grew from clawing trees to savaging another dog and then forcing a frightened council officer to take refuge on the roof of her car.

Finally and fatefully for Duke, he lunged at a 60-year-old man who had been passing the animal’s home, biting him on the upper thigh

The escalating incidents were recently outlined in Melbourne Magistrates Court by prosector Trevor Wallwork, who applied for Duke to be destroyed.

Magistrate Julian Fitz-Gerald said today he had given the application by the City of Melbourne a lot of thought over the past two weeks and had not taken the decision lightly.

Mr Fitz-Gerald said there was ongoing concern in the community about dog incidents, including “recent tragic events”, and reiterated that dogs needed to be properly supervised.

Duke’s owner, Daniel Harrison, faced court in December last year on other charges – before the dog was involved in two further attacks. Mr Fitz-Gerald today noted Harrison’s inaction in restraining the dog.

Mr Wallwork said that in January, Duke attacked and injured a pomeranian called Max outside a Flemington Hotel, and two months later bit a man who was walking past Harrison’s Kensington home

He said Harrison had been issued in January last year with a council notice for $882 after Duke and his second American Staffordshire, Casper, damaged a tree.

Then in September last year the dogs growled and rushed at a female animal management officer who attended Harrison’s home after a report of two wandering dogs.

Mr Wallwork said the officer could not get back into her car and was so concerned she climbed onto its roof.

Another magistrate who fined Harrison $2500 last December after he pleaded guilty to charges expressed concern the dogs would one day hurt someone, and said that they needed to be muzzled and leashed

Mr Fitz-Gerald today said that those fears had “come to pass” for Duke and that Harrison had not changed his ways.

He said Duke had showed a propensity to cause a risk to animals when he attacked Max and had a similar propensity to seek to attack or injure humans.

Mr Fitz-Gerald noted that such breeds were powerful dogs and presented a “clear risk” which represented a “huge challenge” to control and bring that risk to an acceptable level.

He acknowledged that the dogs were a big part of Harrison’s life and that Duke had been with him since eight weeks old. But he said Harrison could not be considered a responsible owner and that leaving the dog in the community was not a feasible option.

The risk of further incidents was very high and presented a risk “I am not prepared to take,” Mr Fitz-Gerald said.

Harrison, who pleaded guilty to six charges including one of owning a dog that attacked and bit a person causing serious injury, was convicted and fined a total of $1400 with $1600 costs.

He has 28 days to appeal the sentence and the destruction order.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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