An Aussie mother has shared her shock after a campaign was set up to stop a dog that attacked her little girl from being put down – despite the youngster needing surgery for her significant facial injuries.
Appearing on Channel 9’s A Current Affair, Brisbane mum Veronica revealed how her daughter Lizzie was attacked two years ago by a neighbour’s dog, Hank. She was just seven years old at the time.
It left the little girl with significant facial injuries and she later required surgery.
Appearing on the show with a visible scar still on her face, Lizzie said: “I had a big hole in my face, teeth marks starting above my eyebrows, dragging down, then a big hole taken out.”
Her mum Veronica revealed she made a complaint to the council initially, and Hank’s owners were ordered to better restrict the dog as well as get him desexed, allowing time for the Moreton Bay Regional Council to investigate the attack.
However, owner Tammy failed to get the dog desexed in time, after saying she received incorrect information from a council officer, and the dog was finally seized to be destroyed.
Devastated by the decision, Tammy and partner Nathan started an online campaign to save Hank – claiming he just “innocently nudged” Lizzie.
Veronica was furious when she saw the petition and told the show it made her “physically sick”. She added: “Tammy’s dog bit a chunk out of my child’s face and they’re making out that Hank was a victim in all this.”
A GoFundMe page for Hank raised more than $17,000 and the couple even erected signs outside their home in an effort to save him.
The show reported that while the matter initially appeared before the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, where the destruction order was upheld, the order was later set aside in a third appeal hearing – allowing Hank to go home under new, strict conditions.
It follows a spate of horrific attacks just months ago, leading to a debate over harsher fines for dangerous dog owners.
Twelve-month-old Kamillah Jones was killed by a rottweiler in March this year, while she was being pushed around in a pram by her mum in a street in Inverell, northern NSW. The incident was investigated by police, but no-one was reportedly charged at the time.
Just a day later, a 10-year-old Melbourne girl was rescued by her neighbour Jimmy Baird after being viciously attacked by what is believed to be a Bullmastiff, while her parents were out.
The child suffered serious injuries, and was treated in the Royal Melbourne Hospital. The dog was later put down.
Currently, laws vary between states. Brisbane City Council declares a dog dangerous if it “has seriously attacked a person or another animal, has acted in a way that caused fear to a person or another animal or was declared dangerous by another local government”.
In QLD, a dog that is declared restricted or menacing must wear a disc specifying so around its collar, while the owner must put up warning sign by the entrance to their property. The dog must “always be muzzled and on leash when in public and handled by a capable adult”, and “confined in an enclosure that complies with set regulations”.
Once declared dangerous, the council says “you will be given certain conditions to follow,” which may vary from case to case.
According to government figures, there were 1,196 dog attacks reported to NSW local councils from July-September 2017.