Family demands proper burial after dog bodies taken to tip

Sad: Lisa Vidler and Darren Hicks want the bodies of their dogs returned. "They're not animals, they're family members." Picture: Marina Neil
Sad: Lisa Vidler and Darren Hicks want the bodies of their dogs returned. "They're not animals, they're family members." Picture: Marina Neil

A Lake Macquarie family has been left “devastated” after the bodies of their two dogs were taken to the tip, cheating them of the opportunity to say goodbye and lay their pets to rest.

Loss: Bub (pictured) was four years old and Mingh was two years old and in the early stages of pregnancy with her third litter. The dogs were with the family since birth.

Loss: Bub (pictured) was four years old and Mingh was two years old and in the early stages of pregnancy with her third litter. The dogs were with the family since birth.

Darren Hicks said he and his partner Lisa Vidler had “the wind knocked out of our sails” by how Lake Macquarie City Council dealt with their two Staffordshire bull terriers, Bub and pregnant Mingh, after they were hit by a car and died. “Our dogs have been treated as general waste,” Mr Hicks said.

The pair said the dogs escaped from their Belmont South home on the night of Wednesday, November 22.

The next morning, Mr Hicks received a screenshot of a post on a Facebook page, saying the dogs had been struck on the Pacific Highway near Marks Point late on Wednesday night. “If it wasn’t for this post, we still would not know they had been hit.”

Mr Hicks said Ms Vidler’s phone was broken, so he called the council about the bodies and was told staff would check with the rangers. When Mr Hicks called back on Monday he said he was told the bodies had been taken to Awaba and was given a number. “When the man picked up and said ‘Awaba Waste Facility’ I couldn’t believe it,” Mr Hicks said. “He said they probably had two, three or four days’ household garbage on top of them.”

A council spokeswoman said an employee had collected the bodies from the roadside late on Wednesday, but only one was found to be microchipped. “A search of the companion animals register showed it was owned by a person at a Windale address [where the family previous lived],” the spokeswoman said. “Early on Thursday morning, council’s ranger attempted numerous times to contact the owner on the mobile number provided however the phone number wasn’t working.”

She said the bodies were taken to Awaba the same day.

“If council is unable to make contact with the animal’s owner to determine their wishes, deceased animals are taken to the Awaba Waste Management Facility for burial and covered with soil. The council appreciates that the loss of loved animals is an emotional and traumatic time for owners and their families. Unfortunately both dogs have been buried and cannot be easily recovered.”

She said it was important for owners to notify council if their address or contact details had changed.

“Council rangers scan any found animals and make all attempts to return them to their owners,” she said.

“Having your dog microchipped and tagged ensures council rangers can easily identify and return animals to their rightful owners.”