– In the latest bizarre attempt to restrict dogs from doing what dogs do, Brisbane City Council has proposed fining dog owners whose dogs engage in so-called rush attacks.
“What are rush attacks?” you say? Apparently rush attacks are defined as situations where a dog literally rushes at a person or animal in an aggressive manner.
The difference between a rush attack and an actual attack lies in the fact that a rush attack does not result in contact between the “rushing” dog and the target of the aggression.
Now it is a matter of common sense that rush attacks do occur; just about every dog owner has seen or experienced such behaviour first-hand. However it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that should proposals to codify rush attacks become law, every “Jackboot Johnny” in a Council uniform with a bent against dog owners will be rubbing his or her hands together with glee.
Imagine the scenario – a Jehovah’s Witness (JW) comes up to your gate, which is clearly marked with a large sign that states, “Beware of the dog – especially Jehovah’s Witnesses”. Undeterred, the JW puts his hand on the gate and your Chihuahua runs towards the gate, yapping with all his might. The JW breathlessly retreats to his friends, who are standing on the street corner and who have witnessed the “rush attack”. Weeping with fear, one of their number rings the Council’s Animal Control Office and lays a complaint with them that your dog has rush attacked a member of their group. Under lights and sirens (they wish), the Council Officers rush to your home and slap you with a substantial fine for allowing your dog to defend its territory – or in the Council’s opinion to “engage in a rush attack”.
Think that is a far fetched scenario? Well, think again.
The imposition of large fines as punishment for “rush attacks” of this (and every other) kind is exactly what Brisbane City Council’s “Lifestyle Chairperson” (don’t you just love the Monty Python-esque title!) Krista Adams proposed to the Local Government Association of Queensland annual conference last week. In what we can only imagine was a room full of marijuana smoke, the proposal by the “Lifestyle Chairperson” (Editor’s note: we love that title so much we just had to mention it again) was enthusiastically endorsed by Council representatives from across Queensland.
Now in the humble opinion of the Daily Dog, we can understand how one or two Councillors at the meeting might have a dose of rabies and thus be slightly mad. However the fact a majority of Councillors at the meeting enthusiastically endorsed the poorly thought out proposal regarding “rush attacks” shows how badly Queensland is represented at the Local Government level. The fact is (and this has subsequently been pointed out by legal practitioners), the ability to identify a “rush attack” versus a yapping dog having his say at a passer-by is so fraught with difficulty that Courts would be loathe to confirm Council fines over such “attacks” when they were inevitably appealed by outraged dog owners (such as in the Chihuahua illustration used above).
Indeed, it has also been pointed out by other (wiser) Councillors that many citizens who may have a grudge against a dog-owning member of their neighbourhood could easily use such laws to lay vexatious complaints against said dog-owner in a low type of “get square”.
Fortunately, the (aptly named) Councillor Quirk (the Mayor of Brisbane) has knocked the proposal for rush attack laws on the head at the time of writing. Just a week ago, Councillor Quirk endorsed the Lifestyle Chairperson’s proposal for rush attack by-laws. Yet after a week enduring howls of outrage from the dog-owning community across Brisbane, he has now crawled back into his kennel with his tail well and truly between his legs.
However just because Councillor Quirk has got the message does not mean other Councils across Queensland – and indeed Australia – will not try to enact some sort of rush attack by-laws. Therefore the Daily Dog urges our readers to keep your nose to the ground if your Local Council appears to be sniffing around this type of mongrel proposal. If your Council is thinking about enacting such by-laws, please let us know in the comments section below and we will be glad to investigate….with rabies vaccine in hand of course 😉