– Councils across Australia are getting increasingly tough on dog owners who don’t leash their dogs as soon as they are in the public domain. In fact many dog owners are now finding out the hard way that Councils mean business when it comes to enforcing this commonly ignored by-law.
Vanessa Croll (pictured) from Paddington in Brisbane has found out first hand that Brisbane City Council has zero tolerance for dogs being off leash. With lead in hand, Vanessa put her dog “Charlton” on the ground when she got out of her car at Mount Cootha recently, in preparation for their regular walk together.
That sounds fair enough, doesn’t it? The mistake Vanessa made however is she then walked fifty metres to the nearby walking track without having Charlton on his leash. This is when a Council Officer literally leaped into action.
Emerging from the bushes (in a scene reminiscent of the movie Caddy Shack!) a Council Officer ran towards Miss Croll, with camera in hand, stating he needed to interview her. Now a young lady being accosted in a park by a man running towards her with camera in hand would justifiably feel nervous, in the opinion of the Daily Dog. Fortunately in this case it appears the Officer was in uniform, and Miss Croll didn’t over-react. However Public Servants who act in such a manner need to expect an occasional “vigorous” reaction from nervous female exercisers if they are going to keep behaving like this. Indeed if Miss Croll was my daughter I would have advised her to refuse to provide any personal details and to call the Police. After all, anyone can put together an official looking yet fake uniform, and with all the two-legged grubs around these days, it is not unreasonable to refuse to provide such information until the Police arrive.
Getting back to the story, Miss Croll was subsequently fined $227 by the Brisbane City Council for having her dog off-leash. Whilst some dog owners would think a warning would be sufficient penalty for a first offence such as this, Councils around Australia are becoming increasingly tough when it comes to enforcing dog related by-laws. As we reported previously, the Sunshine Coast Council is leading the way in imposing massive fines against the owners of aggressive dogs, so naturally a zero-tolerance approach to all offences doggie related is going to filter through to the lesser “crimes” of our four legged friends and their owners.
Barking dogs, dogs out of their yards, dogs off-leash on beaches out of approved times & zones, and so on, are all coming under increasing scrutiny by Councils keen to make a buck…sorry….enhance the level of public safety. Despite our cynicism of the real reasons behind such dramatic behaviours as Council Officers lying in wait, concealed in bushes for a law breaking female rebel and her toy dog to come along (!), this case does serve as a reminder that we as dog owners need to be aware of our collective responsibility to keep our dogs under control at all times. After all, what dog owner in this Country, with all the warning signs that are prominently displayed in public areas, doesn’t know that dogs out of their own yard must be on a leash unless the signage says otherwise?
Information pups4sale has received suggests the overall crackdown on miscreant dogs and their owners has largely been driven by the increasing rate of dog attacks on animals and people in the public domain. Councils in this litigious age in which we live have become nervous about their Public Liability and the risk of being sued by a citizen who has been attacked by a dog in the public domain. As Councils have the responsibility to enforce compliance with dog related by-laws, one could see how a case for such a law suit could be made. So to make their position more defensible in such cases that may (or likely will) arise in future, Councils are getting tough – and are wanting to be seen to be getting tough too.
Whilst there are arguments for and against such a hardline approach by Councils across Australia, the simple solution for all of us is to make sure we and our pooches abide by the law – especially when in the public domain together.
Your comments, as always, are welcome below.