Monday 24 March 2008

An open letter to Val

Fay Agee of Trinity Beach had a bad weekend. An Easter walk with her along the beach turned nasty. So she's written to the incoming Mayor for some help.
  • Dear Val,

    Firstly, congratulations on your recent election win and I hope you had a very happy Easter. I was disappointed that Janine didn’t make it.

    I have just had the most terrifying Easter Sunday experience which has now become the proverbial “last straw”. When Janine was campaigning, she came across the same problem in Trinity Beach with the dog situation here.

    Yesterday, I was walking my dog, Sam [on a leash, licensed and de-sexed] at Taylor’s Point and we were attacked by three large dogs.

    One of these dogs looked like a Pit Bull and grabbed my dog by the throat and latched on - the other two were barking and biting in a ‘pack’ frenzy. All three dogs were not on leashes, not muzzled, as clearly the Pit Bull should have been and not restrained in any way whatsoever. The owners of the animals were calling them but in the meantime Sam and I were in the middle of the terrifying melee.

    I kept hold of the leash because it had a metal choke chain and was actually preventing the Pit Bull from tearing into Sam’s flesh – he wouldn’t have stood a chance if I had let go. The three dogs were larger than poor Sam and I was terrified they were going to attack me as well.

    I literally screamed for the owners to call their dogs off till my throat was raw and eventually a couple raced up to the scene. The young man took a flying football style kick at the Pit Bull who flew off Sam, however, it just got right up again and started charging back. The owner managed to restrain the animal and called off the other two. He apologised, citing that the dog in his arms was the problem. Sam and I just cut short our walk and headed home, very shaken, luckily with only a few scrapes and no major injuries.

    Only a few days ago that Mareeba man was in hospital and I count myself very lucky. However, this is not just a one-off incident. This is about the 7th or 8th time that we have been attacked going for a walk in our local neighbourhood.

    I have got to the stage where I carry a big stick with me to defend myself against animals that are not restrained behind a fence, or who are out on walks with their owners and not on a leash. Attacks happen from dogs both big and small and on one occasion I was beating off a dog with owner passively standing by! This dog had been reported to Council.

    I feel it is a ridiculous situation where I cannot take my dog for a walk in my own neighbourhood without fearing for my own safety and the welfare of my pet. Yes, Australia is a country of dog lovers and people I know hold them often in more regard than they do their own children, but like children, they come with responsibility not only for their safety, but the safety of others.

    I feel the only way this situation is going to improve is by an information campaign and the implementation of deterrents such as hefty fines. Certainly the laws are in place, but they are currently being ignored. There would not appear to be any enforcement actions in place either.

    I think the biggest issue here is that people are getting hurt needlessly and had a child been walking their pet, the outcome may have been very different and doesn’t bear thinking about.

    Please Val, I am sure this is not only a Trinity Beach situation, can you do something about this?

    Kind Regards,

    Fay Agee
    Trinity Beach

    24 March 2008


Anonymous said...

That was like our introduction to Cairns 10 years back. Riding bike home, neighbours unleashed, unattended dog rushed up and bit my leg, drawing blood. Neighbour's response "yeah he does that". Took a while before we had the confidence to believe there were intelligent people here after that

Anonymous said...

I have also had the same problem while walking my dogs on the beaches. But, not only at the beaches. My male husky and I where walking along Yorkeys Knob beach a while ago and where attacked by 3 smaller terrier type dogs. My husky was quite a large dog, and I always kept him on a leash when outside our own yard. To stop the other dogs from attacking my dog, or my dog actually getting hold of one of the smaller dogs and killing it, I kicked out at the more aggressive dogs. The owners of those dogs came running as soon as I kicked one of theirs. They threatend to sue me for damages to their dog due to me kicking it. The alternative was for my dog to get hold of it and killing it. I suggested that the other dogs owner and I both go straight to Smithfield Police station so he could lodge the complaint there and then. He declined.
I live in Edmonton, and have had the same problem while walking my husky's out here. To the point that now I will not walk my dogs at all. It is not worth the stress, and anguish when you get attacked by uncontrolled animals.
But, no matter where you go in Cairns, there is always dogs that are not being controlled by their owners.
My dogs have been trained that they will not go out the front door without a leash on. But there are plenty of owners that have dogs and walk them without leads, or, their yards are not secure so the dogs just roam the streets. I dont blame the dogs for this problem. I blame the owners. I think that more severe penalties should be applied to irresponsible pet owners.