Activist steps up dog fight

AN animal welfare activist has vowed not to rest until the owner of dangerous dogs at Mirrabooka is banned from keeping dogs.

Callie Redman, of Macquarie Hills, is taking her case to the Ombudsman, Police Commissioner, Lake Macquarie mayor Jodie Harrison and Charlestown MP Andrew Cornwell.

She has met Cr Harrison and spoken on the phone to Mr Cornwell, who chairs the state government’s Companion Animals Taskforce.

Ms Redman said Mr Cornwell told her the council had the power to act.

‘‘He told me the council needs to go to court and seek an order for the owner to be banned from owning animals,’’ Ms Redman said.

A council statement said that councils had the ability, under state law, to recommend to a local court that it ‘‘remove a person’s right to register and own a dog, where sufficient evidence exists’’.

‘‘It is too early to speculate how this incident will proceed legally as council’s investigation is ongoing, 

and police investigations continue as well,’’  it  said.

The owner of the dogs said he was aware that Ms Redman had investigated dogs at his property.

‘‘She has been for a long time,’’ the owner said.

‘‘I’m not going to get into a discussion about it.’’

Cr Barry Johnston said the council should get tougher on protecting the public from dangerous dogs.

Ms Redman gave evidence to the council, RSPCA, police and state government in late 2011 and early 2012 about dangerous and allegedly mistreated dogs at the property, but the problem was not solved.

Last  May,   two American Staffordshire terriers from the property jumped two two-metre fences and attacked Natalie Southam, leaving her with injuries to her ear, neck and arms that required 19 stitches.

The Newcastle Herald reported last week that Lee Smith, Ms Southam’s partner, killed two vicious American Staffordshire terriers that were mauling his dog to death.

The dogs came from the same property and police are investigating the incident.

The owner of the dogs said there was more to the story.

‘‘There’s plenty to come out very shortly,’’ the owner said.

Ms Redman said the council and RSPCA should have taken action before the attacks.

She alleged dogs at the property had been ‘‘emotionally and physically abused and kept in appalling conditions’’.

The council and RSPCA have said they investi-

gated, but did not have enough evidence to act before Ms Southam was attacked.

The council did act after the attack on Ms Southam, prosecuting the dog owner and destroying the dogs.

As for the dogs that attacked Mr Smith’s dog last Tuesday, the council said they were seized and remain at the RSPCA pound, pending the completion of investigations.

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