Fight to save Bruce the dog heading to the High Court

FIGHTING ON: Dog owners Kev and Chris Thomas have built a new dog enclosure and are not giving up on saving their bull mastiff Bruce.
FIGHTING ON: Dog owners Kev and Chris Thomas have built a new dog enclosure and are not giving up on saving their bull mastiff Bruce. David Nielsen

THE owners of a dog about to be put down by Ipswich City Council have spent more than $15,000 in legal costs and have vowed to continue the fight in court to save their pet.

Council seized the dog, Bruce the bull mastiff, in August and issued a destruction order after the declared dangerous dog bit a meter reader who entered two gates to access the meter in the backyard.

The owners, Kev and Chris Thomas, lost an appeal of the destruction order in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) and have now lodged an appeal in the High Court of Australia.

Council has followed up the destruction order by prosecuting the owners under the Animal Management Act for offences which attract maximum penalties totalling more than $14,000.

Mr Thomas said he had extended Bruce's enclosure to further contain the dog. Before the attack, Bruce was kept in an enclosure when notified of tradesmen or anyone entering the property. The enclosure is inside two fences with eight signs displayed to warn of a dangerous dog on the property.

Mr Thomas said they had not thought of the legal costs, they just wanted their dog back home.

"If Bruce is put down I want to be able to sleep at night knowing that I've done everything I can for him," Mr Thomas said.

Bruce the bull mastiff.
Bruce the bull mastiff. Contributed

"That dog is a member of our family. If he really was a bad dog I wouldn't be fighting it, but he was in his own backyard.

"It's not Bruce's fault. We're the ones that have done the wrong thing. It should be us punished, not him. Fine us, but don't put a dog down for protecting the house and family in his own backyard."

Mr Thomas said he believed the council had taken a tough stance because they had approached the media about the case.

Health and Community Safety committee chairman Andrew Antoniolli refuted the claim.

"This is the same action we would take with any case involving a dangerous dog," Cr Antoniolli said.

In October Cr Antoniolli responded to a question about his refusal to meet with the Thomas family about the case, citing the family's attempts to "bully council" through social media.

"I do not see any point in discussing this matter further with a person who is actively promoting the victim bashing through Facebook and actively trying to bully council via social media to back down on its responsibility to protect the public from a dangerous dog," Cr Antoniolli said.

He said the council had decided not to carry out the destruction order until the findings into the case were handed down by QCAT next month.

Topics:  chris thomas dangerous dogs dog attacks editors picks queensland civil and administrative tribunal

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